Cover image for A long cold fall
A long cold fall
Reaves, Sam, 1954-
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New York : Putnam, [1991]

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Booklist Review

This is slick debut, dark in places, funny in others, but wildly uneven a lot of the time. Reaves has an eye for the mean angle, the street truth, and he also delivers a low-rent sleuth without too much macho baggage. Sure, Cooper MacLeish drives his cab into the South Side of Chicago late at night, but he knows enough to get plenty scared when his fare pulls a gun. Cooper's cab work keeps him in a low-rent life-style that suits him, and his lethargic attempts to write keep him sane. Then a name from his past becomes a police statistic--a suicide with a struggling art gallery, a busted marriage, and a missing son. Cooper is soon in it up to his eyeballs, trying to put some distance between the kid and a killer with a teardrop tattoo on one cheek. Fall boasts a likably lean prose style. The killers are slightly underdeveloped, introduced and then abandoned as Cooper gets to feeling a little sorry for himself, lamenting his lost love while chasing red herrings in the ritzy suburbs. But character and setting merge nicely, strident liberal angst is kept within tolerable margins, and Cooper never turns smarmy the way so many would-be hard-boiled types do. ~--Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

This impressive mystery debut grabs attention with its opening chapter and never lets up. With both a penchant for trouble and the ability to handle it, Vietnam vet Cooper MacLeish, after completing college on the GI Bill, is drifting through life as a Chicago cab driver. Reading of the apparent suicide of a woman he'd been in love with during his college years, he decides to attend her funeral. Although she hadn't returned his feelings, the two had shared one night of passion. A simple calculation suggests that Cooper might be the father of her teenage son. The youth has disappeared following his mother's death but Cooper finds him, and his argument that his mother was murdered gains added weight when someone seems determined to kill him as well. Cooper eventually pinpoints a surprising suspect (based on coincidental events that constitute the novel's sole jarring note) but, before the story's violent resolution, learns that not all guesses turn out right. Reaves's solid, well-paced mystery features an engaging hero readers will want to meet again. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved