Review

Always Say Goodbye

by Stuart M. Kaminsky



If award-winning mystery novelist Stuart M. Kaminsky chose a
profession other than writing, there is no doubt that he would
become a juggler. In that profession Kaminsky could take advantage
of the talent he exhibits as an author, currently maintaining at
least four ongoing mystery series with main characters as
individual and unique as snowflakes. Kaminsky is the creator of
Hollywood detective Toby Peters, Chicago police officer Abe
Lieberman, Russian sleuth Inspector Rostnikov and Florida private
investigator Lew Fonesca.


In total, Kaminsky lists 50 mystery novels in his bibliography and
also has found time to publish five biographies, four textbooks and
four movie screenplays. With this resume, it is not surprising that
the former college professor was awarded the 2006 Lifetime
Achievement Grandmaster Award from the Mystery Writers of
America.


ALWAYS SAY GOODBYE is the fifth appearance of Lew Fonesca, formerly
of Chicago but now a resident of Sarasota, Florida. Four years ago,
Fonesca's wife was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in
Chicago. She was a prosecutor in Cook County, and Fonesca was an
investigator in that same office. In torment over her death,
Fonesca fled Illinois and drove south until he decided to stop in
Sarasota. He now works as a private investigator out of a cheap
office near the Dairy Queen off Highway 301. Fonesca struggles to
earn a living as a process server, occasionally helping others get
out of difficult situations and fighting the ghosts of his former
life.


As the novel opens, Fonesca decides that it is time to go back to
Chicago to find the person responsible for his wife's death. He
returns to the city and is met at Midway Airport by his
brother-in-law Franco. It immediately becomes clear that Fonesca's
return to the Windy City is more complicated than solving a
hit-and-run. The car following them from the airport is a clear
indication that this will be neither a routine nor a quickly
resolved investigation. Fonesca's deceased wife Catherine may have
left some files that could contain extremely incriminating material
against certain people. Those unknown individuals are willing to
kill to locate the damaging evidence. While seeking the person
responsible for Catherine's death, Fonesca must navigate the
treacherous field created by those hunting for the missing
files.


Kaminsky knows Chicago. For years he was a professor at
Northwestern University. His character Abe Lieberman works the
streets of the city as a police officer. It is an interesting
juxtaposition in ALWAYS SAY GOODBYE to observe Floridian Fonesca
returning to his former home to work and walk the streets of a city
where he once lived. Kaminsky devotees familiar with the Abe
Lieberman series will enjoy Fonesca's visit to some different
Chicago neighborhoods.


The joy of reading a Kaminsky mystery comes from meeting characters
who are both complex and at the same time simple and
straightforward. Kaminsky does not rely on gimmicks or unfathomable
plot twists to hold readers' attention. Instead, he creates
characters who readers will care about. At the end of ALWAYS SAY
GOODBYE, Fonesca has undergone a metamorphosis that creates the
potential for tantalizing adjustments in future episodes. Fans will
await with anticipation for his next adventure.


   












Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on December 22, 2010

Always Say Goodbye
by Stuart M. Kaminsky

  • Publication Date: November 28, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765316013
  • ISBN-13: 9780765316011