The Poor Boy’s Game
By Dennis Tafoya
April 29, 2014
Hardcover, 322 pp., $25.99
Reviewed by Gloria Feit
U.S. Marshal Frannie Mullen has had a difficult life: Her father, after years of being an enforcer for a corrupt Philadelphia union, has just escaped from Federal prison; her sister has just come out of rehab after being sober for 28 days; she herself is in a relationship with a reformed outlaw (with similar issues in his family background), her ambivalent feelings notwithstanding. And, as the novel opens, she is conducting a routine apprehension of a fugitive during which one of her best friends/colleagues is killed, for which Frannie, as the team leader, would take the weight. (It was the first time in seven years in the Marshals service that she has had to fire her gun.) But of more immediate concern is her father’s escape. She is being hunted by both law enforcement and the underworld, targeting Frannie, her sister, and her father’s 26-year-old pregnant girlfriend as links to her father, and she doesn’t know who to trust.
The novel is written in the language of the streets of Philadelphia: “. . . there was that thing coming out from behind his eyes, that presence that was inside us and only made itself known when things got as bad as they could be. The part of us that was left over from when we tore at each other with teeth and claws and only stopped when we tasted blood.”
After Frannie is attacked by men who are strangers to her, and bodies begin piling up, the pace of the novel, already totally absorbing, picks up to even greater speed, and it never lets up, with some literally jaw-dropping moments, this reader already holding her breath. A very fast read, the novel is recommended....Continua