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by Stuart M. Kaminsky
Forge, December 2002
254 pages
ISBN: 0312874537

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Stuart Kaminsky, without question, is one of the powerhouses of mystery writing and yet, he's not a big name. Here's a guy with four, yes, four, different series along with a number of non-fiction books and his work is pretty much always excellent. While I tired of the Toby Peters books a while back, they are still popular with many readers. And the Rostnikov books? Amazing - wonderful plots, fascinating characters and insights into what was the Soviet Union and what is now Russia.

Here again is Kaminsky at his best - writing Lieberman and Hanrahan, or as they tend to refer to each other "Rabbi" and "Father Hanrahan" two aging, wise, savvy Chicago cops. One of the things that happens with guys like this is that the crooks constantly underestimate them; thinking they're past their prime; they assume that sixty year old guys are not too smart, can be conned, just don't get things. They look at Abe Lieberman and think he's a retired accountant maybe, or a shoe salesman, or, well, a rabbi.

Not Quite Kosher starts out with two guys robbing a jewelry store; they're celebrating having successfully robbed the same store exactly a year ago, only this time, things don't go as smoothly as they did a year back. Guys end up dead, shot, chased all over town. Then there's Arnold Sokol who tells Abe he killed someone; except he didn't. Then he ends up dead. Who killed him, the kid he almost killed?

Lieberman is one of those deceptive people who listens and nods and nods and you might think you just put one over on him and wham, suddenly you realize it's all fake - that he's as sharp as any cop you'll ever meet and you just messed up big time. His peculiar almost-friendship with the amoral gangster "El Perro" is a fascinating sideline to these stories; El Perro is totally dangerous, but he respects the man he calls "El Viejo" and they often reach uneasy truces in order to force even worse guys to behave. The uneasy alliance shows up here in some almost funny ways; wait until you get to Hanrahan's wedding reception. Yes folks, despite his promise to a powerful Chinese crook, Bill and Iris are getting married. Meanwhile, Abe's grandson Barry is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah; Abe and Bess are, pretty much without complaint, raising their two grandchildren because their selfish daughter just gave up. She's too wrapped up in her own life, but she'll spring for flowers at the synagogue.

Senator Joe Lieberman of my home state of Connecticut makes a sort of cameo appearance here and I hope he finds it an honor. As far as we know, Abe and the Senator are not related, but if I were Joe Lieberman, I'd find a way to claim Abe as my cousin. --

http://www.drizzle.com/~roscoe - Stu & Andi's "The Roscoe Page" Check out the new 'Roscoe Store' pages at CafePress! We now have an assortment of imprinted items with original Stu Shiffman art: http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=roscoestore -

Reviewed by Andi Shechter, December 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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