A writer turned P.I. investigates the murder of a forgotten
ex-convict while coming to terms with personal tragedy....
I keep a list of authors. Well, make that "lists," actually.
There's one in my wallet and one in my Daytimer and one on my
laptop and one on my desktop, and one of these days I'll get 'em
all organized. They're all made up of authors who wrote books I
really enjoyed; I've got their names down so I won't miss their
next efforts. Then there's a list I carry around in my head, a list
of authors whose names I know almost as well as my own, so I don't
need to write them down. Those would be my 'A' List. It has names
on it like Parker and Burke and Leonard who have been writing
forever. There are a few names, like Buffa and Meltzer, that
haven't been writing all that long but who made the list fairly
quickly. And now, joining that esteemed group of scribes with A
WELL-KNOWN SECRET, is Jim Fusilli.
Fusilli, a music critic for The Wall Street Journal, only
recently began writing novels.
His first novel, CLOSING TIME, was a surprisingly confident work,
and introduced Terry Orr, a writer and historian turned private
investigator following the tragic, senseless deaths of his wife and
infant son. The minor flaws of that novel --- the letters Orr wrote
to his dead wife, which occasionally interrupted the flow of the
novel, and the almost too-cute precociousness of Bella, his
pre-teen daughter --- are absent from A WELL-KNOWN SECRET. Using
post-9/11 Manhattan as both a backdrop and a participant, Fusilli
presents Orr as a character who is grievously affected by tragedies
visited upon the family and the city he loves, as a character who
is damaged but who nonetheless endures.
Fusilli, seemingly overnight, has smoothed out the few rough edges
of CLOSING TIME, with the result being that A WELL-KNOWN SECRET
contains prose as compelling as any you will read this year.
Fusilli seamlessly melds Orr's personal and professional life,
injecting a potential romantic inter