First line: "Some people swallow their grief."
Reed Farrel Coleman, author of the Moe Prager PI series and Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series, introduces Gus Murphy, a retired Suffolk County police officer who now drives an airport shuttle for the run-down Paragon Hotel of Bohemia. Murphy, haunted by the unexpected death of his son from a hidden heart defect two years earlier, also lives in the dilapidated old lodging facility.
Tommy Delcamino, a low-level thief Murphy arrested while still on the force, pays him a visit to request help. Tommy's son, TJ, was tortured to death and the police seem to be ignoring the murder, so Delcamino wants Murphy to look into it. Murphy explodes thinking the ex-con is trying to take advantage of Murphy's own personal tragedy. When Murphy goes looking for Delcamino, intending to apologize for his behavior, he encounters two armed men who escape while shooting Murphy in the leg, and finds the remains of the elder Delcamino.
Still reticent about investigating the murders, Murphy decides he needs answers why these men died. He had no answers, no one to blame for his son's death, and he thinks if he finds answers in this case they will help him heal; instead he opens a huge can of worms that just might kill him.
Sharp, clever dialogue, a dynamic cast of characters representing the cross-section of cultures in Long Island and an engaging plot keep Where It Hurts gripping and entertaining. Gus' authenticity, his flaws and his complexity make him a character readers will eagerly anticipate. An excellent beginning to a series with great potential.
Where It Hurts is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780399173035) from Putnam and as an unabridged audiobook (ISBN: 9781504661140), narrated by Chris Andrew Ciulla from Blackstone Audio.