The two cops who comprise the entire homicide division of the Palm Beach Police Department are both refugees from other venues: Charlie Crawford, a 36-year-old former “hero cop” from New York City, 6’ 2” and 180, and Mort Ott, described as a 51-year old homicide cop who looks 10 years older, 5’ 7” and 230 pounds, who for 23 years had been with the Cleveland P.D. Couldn’t be more different from each other, though they make for perfect partners, and work together like cogs in a well-oiled wheel.
Charlie is used to the hustle and bustle, not to say murder and mayhem, of New York, where he solved at least a couple of very newsworthy cases, and he finds the change a bit boring: “Palm Beach probably had fewer than twenty homicides in its entire recorded history”. As the book opens, however, he “finally (!) had himself a murder,” when he is called to the scene of a 19-year-old young man, pictured on the book cover showing just his legs from the knees down, dressed in black jeans and sneakers, which we soon find is his dead body, hanging from a banyan tree. And very soon after, there is another homicide, which has Charlie thinking “Two murders in a week in Palm Beach, after having gone fifteen years homicide-free,” but “I’ve never had two cases with so few suspects . . . ever.” We are told quite a lot about the rich and famous who live in Palm Beach, “one of the richest towns in America,” and a glimpse of how they got that way
Twenty-six-year-old Todd Tropez (born “Gonczik” and raised in Mineola, Long Island, a suburb of NYC, and now calling himself Nick Greenleaf) is a charming bartender with much higher aspirations. Those aspirations form the basis for much of the terrific plot. Though there is, obviously, violence in these pages, they contain a wonderful core of humor, and very well-drawn characters, including a few complex females about whom the reader is ambivalent.
Although it took me much longer than it should have liked to pick up this first book by Tom Turner, it was perfect timing – couldn’t have asked for a better late Summer “beach read” which I finished in a little over 24 hours! Happily, I have the sequel, Palm Beach Poison, to look forward to, as well as his most recent novel, Killing Time in Charleston – I have no doubt they will be as thoroughly enjoyable as Palm Beach Nasty, which is highly recommended....Continua