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Always a Body to Trade by K. C. Constantine

Always a Body to Trade (original 1983; edition 2002)

by K. C. Constantine

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1065113,849 (4.13)1
Title:Always a Body to Trade
Authors:K. C. Constantine
Info:David R Godine (2002), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Always a Body to Trade by K. C. Constantine (1983)



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Someone has killed a nameless woman. Brutally shot her right in the face. It's up to Chief of Police Mario Balzic to solve her murder only he has two problems: not much to go on in the way of clues, witnesses or suspects and a new mayor who is a little too eager, a little too young and more than a little too green to understand how crimes are solved. He wants this case put to bed yesterday.
The title of the book comes from the idea that in the ways of crime there is one rule: always have a body to trade; meaning there is an accomplice on who to rat if you get caught.

My only "issue" with Always a Body... was that I found it hard to believe the some of the things Balzic would say and do as being professional. I can't see the chief of police readily admitting to a deputy warden that he had been drinking the night before and probably too much so. Another huge red flag was the fact that Balzic never followed up on leads. He always took them at face value...which made the ending completely predictable. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Dec 22, 2015 |
OK, but not great. Good character descriptions. ( )
  klockrike | Dec 26, 2012 |
Lively and impressively cynical police procedural, centered on Police Chief Balzic of Rockport, a blue-collar town in the depressed heart of the Rustbelt. This is the sixth in a series which is new to me. In this one, Blasic is trying to figure out who killed an unidentified young woman in what looks like an execution murder. He has few clues and must depend on a vividly-drawn series of informants to solve the case, while trying to deal with a new and very naive mayor. It's all a long way from "Law and Order", and it's nice to know the series is seventeen books long: I look forward to reading them from the beginning. ( )
  annbury | Feb 16, 2010 |
For some reason I like these Balzic books. It must be the character and the odd western Pennsylvania location because the stories are slow and sometimes obvious. Once again the story unfolds slowly, gets interesting in the middle, and I am slightly disappointed with the ending. ( )
  JBreedlove | Jun 30, 2008 |
Truly fine investigation: a new mayor in Rocksburg, a black chieftain, a Jane Doe. ( )
  tzelman | Apr 11, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0879239522, Paperback)

Police Chief Mario Balzic's sixth case: there's a new mayor in Rocksburg, PA, one of those simplifying self-righteous amateurs bent on law and order who can't leave anything alone. His calls never stop, even trapping Balzic in his refuge at Muscotti's Bar.

There's a double robbery in two identical apartments, rented but hardly ever used by a Pittsburg drug dealer who's clean with the law. A young woman is found shot dead on the street. She can't be identified, but her murder has all the appearances of a professional hit. The mayor is near hysteria, and he smears the case all over Balzic, who not only has to solve the murder but teach his nosy new boss the not-so-plain facts of police work.

It's an impossible assignment that turns raw and ugly (then uglier) because it's a drug case, Balzic's first; because corrupt state narcs are involved; and because the Rev. Rutherford Rufee, the exotic and superbly drawn boss of the local black underworld, is Balzic's best hope of solving the crime. And Rufee, a guileful genius, plays Balzic for his own vengeful purposes, purposes that overlap Balzic's own and climax in the never-never land of a bravura plea- bargaining deal all of which moves the mayor's education well up into graduate study. Balzic and the law don't lose, but the victory is hardly sweet.

There is not literary tyranny quite like a category. Constantine is a novelist who writes, we say, "detective fiction," but that misses what's most memorable about his books the superb rendition of social texture and of particular people embedded in it, something only our best novelist can do. Always A Body To Trade belongs to readers who shun catagories. It's familiar small-town Rocksburg, tough, immigrant working class and shot through with the verbal magic Constantine weaves out of everyday speech, heightened this time by miracles of Black English.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:30 -0400)

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