CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THE LAST GIG
While there’s nothing particularly original about Alessandra Al Martillo, Green’s new hard-boiled PI, this series debut suggests she may have a long fictional life ahead of her. Al works as the assistant to Marty Stiles, a New York City ex-cop turned PI, who does a fair amount of repo work. The ante gets upped for both of them when Daniel Mickey Caughlan, a leading Irish mobster, hires Stiles to find out who’s using his trucking company to move drugs. Al soon learns that another mystery surrounds the death of Caughlan’s 20-year-old son, ostensibly from an overdose, just six months earlier. Green (Way Past Legal) convincingly conveys the city’s underbelly and keeps the action moving through various subplots, including a search for a sex tape that could destroy a pop diva’s reputation. Some may quibble that the indestructible Al is a bit too larger-than-life, but she’s well-rounded enough to help readers suspend disbelief at her surviving numerous violent encounters. (Jan.)
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Mobster Mickey Caughlan owns a more-or-less legitimate trucking company. When he discovers that his trucks are being used to move drugs, he hires more-or-less legitimate private investigator Marty Stiles and his formidable Puerto Rican assistant, Alessandra Al Martillo, to identify the traitor. The plot is fine, but the essence of The Last Gig is character, specifically Al’s. At age 12, she was homeless on the streets of Brooklyn after her mother’s suicide. Her absentee father’s only contribution to her development was to teach her how to maim anyone who threatened her. She’s tough, smart, cynical, untrusting, strikingly attractive, brim full of machismo, and deeply conflicted. At times, she’s almost feral. Author Green’s New York is hard-edged, gritty, and dangerous, and his other characters are well drawn. Al’s investigation touches on a rock band, and what is said about musicians and the music business sounds knowing. In fact, every bit of the book sounds knowing. But the biggest reason to recommend it is because lovers of hard-boiled PIs will love Al. –Thomas Gaughan
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