Review

The Last Dark Place: An Abe Lieberman Mystery

by Stuart M. Kaminsky



Part of the appeal of mystery novels comes from the multiple
vehicles that authors use as plot mechanisms to present their
stories. Crime solving sleuths come in all shapes, sizes, sex and
experience. Ultimately, readers find a comfortable niche and format
for their mystery pleasure. For me, perhaps because of my legal
background, the police procedural has always been the mystery I
turn to when the mood strikes me to engage in some crime solving.
Two of my long-time favorites have been Michael Connelly's Harry
Bosch and Ed McBain's Steve Carella. Recently, however, a new cop
on the block has appeared on my book table, Detective Abe Lieberman
of the Chicago Police Department.


THE LAST DARK PLACE by Stuart M. Kaminsky is the eighth novel
featuring the sixty-year old Chicago detective confronting the
crimes of a big city along with the difficulties of life. Lieberman
is a Job-like figure, a small, cynical and fatalistic man looking
ten years older than his actual age, battling crime and his
cholesterol count at the same time. He resides on the North Side of
Chicago and does the majority of his crime fighting in the Rogers
Park area of the city, a modern ethnic melting pot for Jews,
Hispanics, Asians and even Caucasian criminals. The trademark of a
Lieberman escapade is a juggling act of multiple crimes, committed
by several criminals investigated by Lieberman and his Irish
Catholic partner Bill Hanrahan, "the Rabbi and the Priest," as they
are known on the streets of Chicago. Compounding his crime solving
battles are the personal predicaments in Lieberman's life --- from
his children, grandchildren, synagogue and community.


The opening scenes of THE LAST DARK PLACE find Lieberman in an
Arizona airport handcuffed to Connie Glover, a fugitive from
justice that the detective is returning to Chicago. Before they can
board the plane, Glover is gunned down, and finding out why the
killer was killed becomes Lieberman's next assignment.


Abe Lieberman is more than a police detective. He is a mixture of
philosopher, psychologist, rabbi and diplomat. In the melting pot
neighborhoods of Chicago, the turf wars between rival ethnic gangs
are of prime concern to law enforcement. Lieberman has the respect
of the community and he wields his respect as a neighborhood Henry
Kissinger, using his skills to mediate and avoid disputes while
always being prepared for the use of force if required. Kaminsky, a
former resident of the North Shore area, has a remarkable insight
into the various communities and nationalities that populate the
Chicago area. Through the vehicle of Abe Lieberman he creates
characters who are real, and plots that are both simple and complex
while always enjoyable and expertly crafted.


Celebrated fictional detectives are engaging because they do more
than solve mysteries. Along the way they often face personal
dilemmas easily identified by most readers. Abe Lieberman is not
only a detective; he is a father and grandfather. Life's personal
difficulties take as much of his time as the misdeeds of the
criminals he tackles on his job. In THE LAST DARK PLACE, his
grandson's bar mitzvah requires Lieberman's attention. That event
demands that he cope with major financial and philosophical issues
while continuing his criminal investigation. This is the balancing
act that is Lieberman's life. He can successfully face those
problems because, above all, Abe Lieberman is a mensch, a
Yiddish word meaning decent human being, a good person who always
takes the high road.


In the hands of an accomplished and skillful writer, an exciting
mystery is a wonderful journey to another world. Stuart Kaminsky
has taken readers on that journey in countless mysteries set in
locales across America and around the world. If you have not had
the pleasure of meeting Abe Lieberman, THE LAST DARK PLACE is a
wonderful opportunity to get acquainted with the Chicago detective
and his community. It could be the beginning of a beautiful
relationship.


   












Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on December 30, 2010

The Last Dark Place: An Abe Lieberman Mystery
by Stuart M. Kaminsky

  • Publication Date: December 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765304635
  • ISBN-13: 9780765304636