Review

Absolute Rage

by Robert K. Tanenbaum



ABSOLUTE RAGE is Robert K. Tanenbaum's 14th addition to his popular
Karp/Ciampi series. All of the familiar characters are back, but
the setting is West Virginia not New York, and the family must face
the challenges brought forth when they themselves become the
targets of thugs and murderers.

This book is definitely Tanenbaum's darkest and it raises ethical
and moral questions about the law. He also spotlights how families
function in times of upheaval and change. Tanenbaum's greatest
talent lies in his ability to weave several themes into the fabric
of a suspenseful and interesting story while at the same time
remaining faithful to the personalities of his characters. And one
of the most exciting attributes this series offers is that readers
can start anywhere in the series without losing a beat.

ABSOLUTE RAGE brings the whole Karp/Ciampi family together during
one hot, tragic summer. Butch Karp is still in the district
attorney's office in New York City and hates his job. Marlene
Ciampi, his wife, has retired from her crime-fighting career and
now owns a dog training school on Long Island. Their daughter Lucy
is a freshman at Boston College and a lab rat to the
neuroscientists at MIT who are studying her brain to try to
determine how it works; she has the ability to speak any language
she hears. And the twin boys "Zik" and "Zac" are 10-year-olds
emerging into pre-pubescence with clearly distinctive
personalities.

Marlene and the twins are spending the summer living at the dog
training school. Here she meets her beachside neighbor Rose Heeney
and Rose's 10-year-old daughter Lizzie. The women have little in
common but find schmoozing over cold beer under the hot sun a
pleasant way to keep an eye on their kids and wile away the long
afternoons.

Lucy arrives on the scene in the company of Dan Heeney, one of
Rose's sons, who is a student at MIT. Dan takes a job at the school
to learn how to train dogs, and Lucy becomes infatuated with Dan
--- and for the first time begins to understand that she does have
carnal needs. Although she remains chaste, she delights in the
discovery of these heretofore hidden facets of her
personality.

The other men folk arrive on the weekend. For Butch Karp this is a
short vacation. But "Red" Heeney and his older son Emmet are there
to take Rose and Lizzie back to West Virginia. Red is an angry man
with a quick temper who is running for the presidency of his union.
His activism has consumed him; he can think only of wiping out the
overt corruption that has pervaded his union for years.

The morning after Heeney arrives, his family packs up their
vehicles and heads back to West Virginia. A few days later Emmett
calls to tell Dan that the rest of the family has been slaughtered
in their beds. Shock, grief, and disbelief hang like a black cloud
over the Karp/Ciampi family when Dan leaves to bury his kin.

After this event the pace of the book picks up speed. Marlene goes
to West Virginia to free a retarded man who is framed for the
murders, and ironically, the West Virginia governor appoints Butch
to be special prosecutor. Soon, Lucy packs up the boys and her dog,
and much to their parent's chagrin, they too make the trip to West
Virginia.

Needless to say, from this moment on the action roars over the
pages, and the plot races to it's climactic end. But not before
heads roll and gunfire pierces the countryside of Robbens
County.

When the dust settles, the tragic results of a drug war, small town
family feuds, and dirty politics leave their mark on the
Karp/Ciampi family. ABSOLUTE RAGE will be a personal read for
Tanenbaum fans, and readers just discovering him will surely want
to read the rest of the series.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 20, 2011

Absolute Rage
by Robert K. Tanenbaum

  • Publication Date: November 30, -0001
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket
  • ISBN-10: 0743403452
  • ISBN-13: 9780743403450