Rocksburg, Pa. Detective Officer Rugs Carlucci has two problems, one of which is much more difficult emotionally.
The first fits into his traditional job - help determine who killed a local steel magnate. This work is relatively easy.
But it's the second problem - dealing with his mother as she begins to lose sense of reality - which is much more interesting.
Near the beginning of the latest, great novel by K. C. Constantine, Carlucci's mom belts him in the mouth. As a result throughout the novel, as he works to solve the crime, he has to deal with the snickers and jokes of his colleagues about what happened. And he has to confront some difficult questions - is it time to send her to a nursing home, even though she objects?
Some of the more poignant moments in the book come as he faces up to the fact that here he is, a 45-year-old officer still leaving with his mother and unable to completely express his feelings towards a local female friend.
Constantine's books are mostly dialogue with very little description. The result is a fast read, sure, but the dialogue seems so real, so authentic, that you sometimes read a passage twice, the second time for enjoyment.
Here's a sample quote:
"I've heard everything there is to hear. You know, there are only so many words in the language that people call profanity. And once you hear them on a regular basis as part of your job, I mean, they're just punctuation, that's all. Just pauses and punctuation, that's all they are. Just like people who can't get through a sentence without saying 'you know' or 'like'? Well there are people who can't get through a sentence without 'fuckin'' this or 'motherfuckin; that. You're looking at me, funny, I'm telling you the truth."
I won't tell you what Carlucci decides but if you like police stories and interesting characters this is a book you should definitely pick up and read. Constantine isn't as well known as some crime writers but with works like this that should change soon.