Dialogues of a Crime
Michael Pollitz faces overly harsh consequences, in his youth, for directing an undercover cop to a location in which the officer could purchase some illegal narcotics; some politician has decided it is important to make a statement and be really tough on crime. Mike’s got a life-long friend in John Calabria, son of Chicago mobster Dominick Calabria, who thinks Mike’s facing a real raw deal. Twenty-two years later, Detective Larry Klinger discovers a tiny bit of information that he thinks may lead to him being able to put Dom behind bars. In following the trail, he discovers more than he imagined about past injustices in their lives.
In cold-case murder mystery Dialogues of a Crime, John Manos causes the reader to check their own assumptions not only about drug crimes, the prison system, mobsters, long-term effects of violent crimes on the victims, and justice, but also about what actually happens in the novel. Time and again Manos sets up the story in such a way that the reader is left wondering what really happened. Instead of being aggravating, I found this tactic admirable because it’s so well done. Manos has a very fluid writing style with a balance of exposition and introspection, along with compelling narration that really pulls the reader along. It was a little short on description, but so well written that it’s hardly noticeable. The dialogue was believable, which is surprising for a crime novel that includes the mob. All the components of his story just really, really worked.
Endings are really important, and Manos nailed this one. Despite the finality of the conclusion, the book leaves so much to mystery. I don’t recommend this novel for people who like shiny, big bows that tie everything up, but I do recommend it for anyone who wants a challenge and something to think about.