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The Graving Dock by Gabriel Cohen
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Although this is my first book by Cohen, he is now one of my favorites and I will be reading more. The main character is a New York police homicide detective who we get to see become more self-reflective as he struggles with his life. This is a complicated mystery with complicated characters, with no simple or trite results. Pretty real relationships also. I learned a bit about how complicated the interactions of river currents and tides are, an old island near Manhattan that was once a small town with a life and culture of its own, and also a tiny touch of Buddhism and Judaism. I had no idea where this story was going and couldn't put it down until I found out. This was a five star read for me and I look forward to more by this author. ( )
  mkboylan | Jan 16, 2014 |
A sequel to Red Hook, set soon after 9/11, in which a NYPD detective tries to find out what led to a child's body being set afloat in a coffin. The writing is good, but I had a hard time connecting to the protagonist, in spite of much time being spent on his personal life. I think I might have liked it better if the focus had been more firmly on the crime and less on the protagonist's hapless attempts to propose.
  bfister | Nov 1, 2008 |
This mystery is the second in a series featuring Detective Jack Leightner. The major mystery involves a coffin, with the body of a young boy, that drifts ashore in Brooklyn. A few secondary mysteries enter into the novel including problems with a new partner, the death of a Buddhist monk and a doctor murdered in Prospect Park.

The story provides good descriptions, which set the atmosphere nicely, of several areas of Brooklyn and Governor's Island as well as details on how his investigative unit fits in with other areas of the police department. There is a romantic interlude, and some Buddhist ruminations.

The search for the boy’s murderer, probably a mercy killing, covers a lot of interesting territory.

The character of the protagonist is well drawn. ( )
  HorusE | Feb 12, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312362668, Hardcover)

In the chill of winter, a homemade coffin drifts ashore in New York Harbor, containing the body of a boy with the letters “G.I.” written on his forehead. As a detective with Brooklyn South Homicide, Jack Leightner finds that corpses are a part of every working day. But today his attention is riveted on a considerably smaller box, containing an engagement ring for his girlfriend Michelle.…

 

In his second mystery featuring Detective Jack Leightner, Edgar Award--nominated author Gabriel Cohen vividly captures New York’s most fascinating borough.

 

The relatively gentle treatment of the victim in Jack’s new case leads him to believe that the boy may have been subject to a strange type of mercy killing. But when a new body appears, it’s clear that no mercy was involved.

 

Meanwhile, Jack can’t figure out his new partner, Tommy Balfa. The man seems fixated on some mysterious trouble of his own, leaving Jack to find out why the unknown boy was sent adrift. Eventually, Jack is forced to take on a second, unofficial investigation into his own partner’s shady activities. And both cases keep interfering with his attempts to propose to his girlfriend. As all three plots thicken, Jack’s pursuit of the killer takes him on a whirlwind tour of hidden parts of New York Harbor, from the secret world of Governors Island to the dilapidated shipyards of the old Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 

Red Hook, Cohen’s debut, was called “outstanding” (The New York Times), “accomplished” (Publishers Weekly), and “compelling” (Booklist). The Graving Dock, the eagerly awaited sequel, is a triumph, even richer in atmosphere, action, and the mysteries of the human heart.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:58 -0400)

"In the chill of winter, a homemade coffin drifts ashore in New York Harbor, containing the body of a boy with the letters "G. I." written on his forehead. As a detective with Brooklyn South Homicide, Jack Leightner finds that corpses are a part of every working day. But today his attention is riveted on a considerably smaller box, containing an engagement ring for his girlfriend Michelle..." "The relatively gentle treatment of the victim in Jack's new case leads him to believe that the boy may have been subject to a strange type of mercy killing. But when a new body appears, it's clear that no mercy was involved." "Meanwhile, Jack can't figure out his new partner, Tommy Balfa. The man seems fixated on some mysterious trouble of his own, leaving Jack to find out why the unknown boy was sent adrift. Eventually, Jack is forced to take on a second, unofficial investigation into his own partner's shady activities. And both cases keep interfering with his attempts to propose to his girlfriend. As all three plots thicken, Jack's pursuit of the killer takes him on a whirlwind tour of hidden parts of New York Harbor, from the secret world of Governors Island to the dilapidated shipyards of the old Brooklyn Navy Yard."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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