Sunday, June 17, 2012



Syracuse, upstate New York. The “Salt City.” An apartment building on the edge of The
Projects – and Anne Malloy dies, thrown out of a sixth floor window, an apparent suicide,
while Mark Cornell watches. Mark was there for a purpose, his part‐time gig being to snap
incriminating photos for a divorce lawyer who happily takes cases over the phone. Watching the apartment was Mark’s assignment.  But this assignment has a problem: Mark learns that “Anne Malloy” had died months before, leaving behind a grieving husband. So who is this woman?
It’s 1976, before cellphones, internet, and all the easy ways of satisfying curiosities, so Mark Cornell’s search for a name to give the victim makes him a foot soldier slogging personally through the facts. And, as those facts pile up, Mark discovers that he really shouldn’t be  playing detective, stumbling across the thin line between commerce and crime.
  (from back cover)


The “Salt City” is Syracuse, New York. I went to Syracuse University and haven’t been back there since. But I was sitting in Krakow, Poland, trying to marry the love of my life, Alina Szpak, when I met the U.S. consul there, who had also gone to SU. So, teaching my soon-to-be wife English, I began writing a “criminalky” using rumored Syracuse scandals that the consul and I remembered. She loved Raymond Chandler - in Polish - and though I’d never read Chandler yet, I tried to fit her descriptions of what she liked. Motivation for the student, as we educators like to say. (One of my degrees is in Education). And, because Cold War politics didn’t respect love as a reason to stay in a country, there was even a plan to translate my story-for-her into a serialized Polish crime novel so that I could have a visa while waiting for the official docs allowing me to marry Alina. A great plan – until I created a Russian-speaking black detective and people thought I was being politically sarcastic and…

Flash forward a bunch of years… Three published novels and six produced screenplays later. (Wish I was rich from that, but life is sarcastic.)


Mark Cornell, a college student working part-time for a private investigator, is sitting outside a building waiting to take photos for a divorce lawyer when the woman in question is thrown from a sixth floor window.  When Mark learns that "Anne Malloy" had died months before, he goes on the trail to discover who this woman is and who killed her.  The novel is set in the 70's , in other words, pre-Internet, so all of Mark's detective work is done the hard way.

In the beginning, I liked this novel.  I like his writing style, his characters, and I was intrigued by the idea of setting a novel in the days before the Internet.  We've become so accustomed to TV detectives as well as our favorite detectives in novels just sitting at a computer that the idea of someone getting back out there and detecting the old-fashioned way was a well, a novel approach.  Sorry for the pun.  Unfortunately, at some point, there were too many characters at once and the plot quickly became too tangled for me to understand.  It's things like this that bring a 5 star novel down to a 3 for me.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Innovative Online Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Innovative Online Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*



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