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    Review of FIRST KILL by Michael Kronenwetter

    Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's Minotaur, September 2005

    Private detective Hank Berlin is trying to be a good father when his high-school girlfriend approaches him. Her husband Jack, once Hank's best friend, has been murdered and the police are getting nowhere. Can he take the case?

    Hank is conflicted. He still feels desire for Liz, and avoided both her and star reporter Jack ever since returning from Canada where he sought refuge during Viet Nam (Jack went). But he's gotten on with his life, has a girlfriend and a child. Still, he's drawn to the case.

    His investigation begins with a look at a major construction project. Where there's construction and city funds, there is the possibility of corruption and one of Jack's recent articles pointed the finger at this project. Then there's the son of a Mafia kingpin living in the neighborhood--a man about whom Jack had recently written an article. Whatever might have motivated the killer, Jack had told his drinking buddy that he was working on a story that would bring down the town's elite--and that certainly provides a motive.

    Author Michael Kronenwetter has created a compelling and powerful mystery in FIRST KILL. Private eye Hank comes alive as a father, detective, ex-draft dodger, and drinker. His investigation turns up the usual lot of red herrings, with a sweet twist at the end, but Kronenwetter's story is more about the people, about relationships, about growth and change than it is about a straight murder.

    I am happy to recommend FIRST KILL and will certainly be looking for more novels by Kronenwetter.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 6/09/06

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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