Review

What Goes Around Comes Around

by Con Lehane



Con Lehane writes about trade union troubles in New York City with
authority. He's been a union organizer and knows his subject. His
lead character, Brian McNulty, is a product of Atlantic City, New
Jersey --- the son of a union man who fought his battles in the
name of the commoner, as a Communist. McNulty's past will not
release its grip on him when he finds himself at war with his own
Bartenders Union. He's back on the job after a six-month hiatus
when he serves a customer from the far regions of his childhood in
Jersey. Big John Wolinski turns out to be the regional manager for
the Sheraton chain.

A second childhood memory emerges in the voice of Greg Phillips,
who contacts Big John on the bar phone. He's asking for advice.
Greg is the barkeep who trained McNulty in the trade and now works
for Big John at the Ocean Club in Manhattan. Big John has made it
big in the business world but looks to the needs of old friends
when they call. Arriving, Greg takes Big John aside and confides
that he has come to the Sheraton to fire his old friend over
McNulty's union troubles. Instead, he offers Brian a job as bar
manager at the Ocean Club in Manhattan, a short-term solution. Greg
is there, under the thumb of club manager Aaron Adams.

On McNulty's first night, he's drawn to the pier by a loud
commotion near the giant yachts docked there. Near its hull, the
water beside the most gleaming boat slops against a body, that of a
man in a tuxedo. The victim, knifed and dumped in the water, is
identified as Aaron Adams. Later, Greg fails to show up for his
shift.

Lehane depicts his characters well. Personalities jump from the
page and become believable links to a past neighborhood where
little boys had tough knowledge well beyond their years, learning
to survive enough to leave it. Some carried their past
transgressions as baggage into adulthood, while others left them
behind, only to discover dusty memories soil them. WHAT GOES AROUND
COMES AROUND is an education to the inner core of sordid
experiences. One can sense the smells and sounds of McNulty's
neighborhood when he returns to uncover meaning in the events of
his today.

The book has action --- gunshot wounds, erratic taxicab chases,
numerous drinks at many bars, jailhouse drama, murder, rediscovery
of a past romance, and advice from an old Communist reprobate. If a
reader's preference leans to a problem-solving series featuring a
bartender-sleuth, WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND will make one
thirsty for the third book in this fine series.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 24, 2011

What Goes Around Comes Around
by Con Lehane

  • Publication Date: February 15, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312322984
  • ISBN-13: 9780312322984