Review

Resolved

by Robert K. Tanenbaum



Robert K. Tanenbaum's latest novel RESOLVED is the fifteenth book
in his popular Karp/Ciampi series. It comes on the heels of the
very successful ABSOLUTE RAGE (2002), when Butch was called to West
Virginia to work a case and the family was torn apart by the
violence they suffered during that summer. The aftershocks of that
assignment have left Giancarlo blind, Marlene Ciampi a victim of
depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and Butch Karp torn
between his job, his children, his wife, his damaged marriage and
his constant state of ennui. Lucy is still a virgin who speaks to
saints and who makes a valiant attempt to keep the household
together; she is currently on leave from college. And the twins,
Giancarlo and Zak, are now 11 years old and roam their
neighborhood, finding ways to get into their own kinds of
mischief.

These familiar characters play new and powerful roles in RESOLVED
--- Butch is now a candidate for the office of District Attorney of
New York City; his wife Marlene, a former vigilante, runs an attack
dog school on Long Island; Lucy helps out at a soup kitchen,
travels the tunnels under the city to help the "mole-people" who
live there, and has no idea that she is soon to become the
obsession of a madman; and the boys balance the craziness with
their humor and energy.

Felix Tighe is a psychopathic killer who Karp prosecuted and sent
to Auburn Prison in New York State. While he serves his time, he
nurtures his hatred for everyone who put him away, especially Karp.
His psychopathology makes him a perfect "cut-out" for the nefarious
plans of a prisoner named Feisal Abdul Ridwan, an Islamic
fundamentalist. He recruits Tighe to join the murderous brigade he
controls on the outside. Ridwan works in the prison infirmary and
devises a plan to help Felix escape from Auburn as a "dead man"
… spirited out of jail in a coffin.

The plan works perfectly and Tighe is delivered to a three-story
house in Astoria, Queens where he meets the main man Rashid and the
muscle, Carlos and Felipe --- all accomplished killers and
terrorists. Felix says he will do anything for money; after all, he
is a dead man, which makes him "invisible." The terrorists will use
him to place bombs at sites all around the city, to cause death,
destruction and fear. Felix's personal targets are the entire
Karp/Ciampi family, but he moonlights and sets bombs to kill other
people in the justice system out of sheer hatred.

Robert K. Tanenbaum is a very gifted writer. His prose is clean and
sharp. He plots his stories with so much care that they come off in
perfect form. While his legions of fans have come to know the
Karp/Ciampi duo well, they also know that each new book will bring
new adventures. One of the most fulfilling aspects of his body of
work is how he shapes and reshapes his main characters. He allows
them to change and mature in a logical progression and offers
readers a fresh vision of them as "individuals." Tanenbaum can also
be relied upon to create a supporting cast of always-believable bad
guys/gals and good guys/gals. All of his characters do and say
exactly what the reader would expect them to do and say, with a few
explosive surprises to enliven the story.

In RESOLVED the author captures the angst that haunts New Yorkers
and the rest of the world, as we all try to come to terms with our
national/international vulnerabilities since 9/11. A bomb in this
novel is a metaphor for the explosive rage in the world at large
but is centered in the minds of the few who carry their inhumanity
to the most heinous ends. This "in-your-face" approach tends to
reinforce the individual's inescapable knowledge that "the center
does not hold." But RESOLVED is not a preachy, whiny or angry book.
Rather, it tries to confront the brutality that readers have come
to know in real life.

9/11 is fodder for novels, coffee table books, feature films, TV
movies, talk radio and news discussions --- and will remain a
central theme in our lives forever. The aftermath of that day is
constant in our thoughts whether we are conscious of it or not, and
we cannot deny that this horrendous event has changed the way we
live and perceive the world. Nevertheless, a sense of optimism and
hopefulness is threaded through the fabric of this novel. In the
talented hands of Robert K. Tanenbaum, readers can take heart
because he approaches this painful topic with dignity and respect
that is steeped in grace.

RESOLVED is worthy of a serious read. In this case, art reflects
life and in fiction the writer can give us clues to a safe
resolution of the issues. Don't miss this one --- it's a
keeper!

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 23, 2011

Resolved
by Robert K. Tanenbaum

  • Publication Date: July 27, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket
  • ISBN-10: 0743452879
  • ISBN-13: 9780743452878