Friday, September 16, 2011

Under Cover of Night: A Steve Caputo Mystery by Al Gellene

Published by Casterline Press
Reviewed for
Review The Book

The title of this book is decidedly right because this story is from the dark side. Black Ops, murder, disappearances, torture, conspiracy, the whole nine yards. Well-plotted, with surprising links that will draw the reader in quickly. Told from several perspectives, the book is comprehensive in its tightly knit but wide-spread arms. Al Gellene is a lawyer by profession and has chosen the hero for this novel well.

I thought this book was well-written, exposing holes in our perception of right and wrong, history and mystery, truth and justice. If this is indeed a debut novel, probable because of a series-type protagonist, attorney Steve Capuno, I applaud the author. It is surprisingly easy to hide a person or an object in plain sight. It is also much easier to continue in the underbelly of the world than to dip into it and out again.

Following an urgent yet garbled phone call from a patient in a psychiatric hospital, Steve pulls out all the stops at his disposal to be allowed to visit the young lady who has suffered a brain injury. He is told she is completely unreliable, but the woman he meets appears to be bright and though paranoid seems to be making enough sense that he takes down the notes word for word that she speaks. Nonsensical as they seem at the time, still they are spoken as though memorized and clearly mean something very important to her. When she is suspected of committing suicide during that same night, he is suspicious, but no one will believe his suspicions. He receives inside information that makes him pursue his suspicions and is joined in his search to make sense of nonsense by the girl's sister.

I found the inspiration and the clues, unfolding as they did, unique and fascinating. Done in rhyme, the clues are there, but almost impossible to sort out until Marion, the patient's sister, begins to make the connections. With a psychotic killer on the loose who has already killed to locate what is hidden and referred to in the clues, they must beat the devil and get out alive, if possible. Through a surprise ending, and near-death for both Steve and Marion, it appears we may hear more of Steve Caputo in the future. An exciting and fast-moving political and psycho-thriller.

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