BOOK REVIEW: THE STRANGLER
In 1962 Boston, someone shoots and kills Irish-American police officer Joe Daley, Sr. in an alley while he is on duty. His three sons, Joe the cop, Ricky the thief, and Michael the lawyer grieve the loss of the family patriarch while the widow, their mother Margaret, did her grieving gig for a year and now lives with the late copís partner, Brendan Conroy.
Her offspring detest Brendan and are angry with their mother for sleeping with the person they hold culpable in their dadís death as they wonder if he set up Joe to walk point into an ambush and why a cop killer has not been caught. However the three sons have their own issues to contend with. To pay off his enormous gambling debt to the mob Joe Jr., works for Vinny "The Animal" Gargano. Gangster Capobianco wants Rickey beaten to a pulp for stealing diamonds from someone who pays the hooligan for protection. Michael, who works in Eminent Domain Division of the Attorney General's Office insists that Albert DeSalvo is not the Strangler, but instead just a lunatic seeking fifteen minutes of fame. When Ricky's girlfriend Amy is murdered with the Stranglerí MO while DeSalvo is a guest of the state, the Attorney General claims he did the crime anyway; Michael with the help of his siblings investigates the latest homicide.
Using the Boston Strangler as a key link and reference point, William Landay provides a fascinating look at family bonds cemented by an odd form of honor and even stranger type of justice. The tale also implies that DeSalvo was not the Strangler, but Mr. Landay employs his theory more as an aside in support of his overall theme of unity during a crisis. Suspense thriller fans will appreciate this fine historical thriller.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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