Cover image for The blue wall
The blue wall
Abel, Kenneth.
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Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 1996.
Physical Description:
358 pages ; 24 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



His car is dead, his wife has left him, and Detective Dave Moser needs all the friends he can get. Instead, he's about to take on a case that buries him in a morass of corruption and contract murder in the NYPD. Once again Kenneth Abel, author of the acclaimed novel Bait, hurtles us into the gritty, hair-raising world of cops and criminals as Moser finds himself alone, hunting a killer, torn between loyalty and honor, survival and...The Blue Wall,
It's not just another floater when Moser and his partner investigate a gorgeous young woman, found dead in the water, missing both eyes. She looked like she came from money with her fancy dental work. No needle tracks. A VIP missing persons report leads Moser to a Park Avenue address and the girl's father, a wealthy Guatemalan with a stone-faced bodyguard and a lot to hide. As Moser and his partner look for leads in the case, a series of unrelated homicides follow-- unrelated until Moser connects the lives of the victims. And when Lt. Tom Richter of the hated Internal Affairs Division tries to persuade him to investigate a fellow cop, it's clear that there's another correlation as well. Moser's on a downhill slide--straight into a federal probe of organized crime that's directly connected to his case.
A wiseguy is singing like a canary, implicating Moser's friend as ringleader of a gang of bent cops, connecting him to the murder that haunts Moser's days and nights. And Moser's the man in the middle: suspected as a possible co-conspirator if he doesn't play along with IAD, loathed as a rat if he does. If he wants a future--in or out of the force--he must keep his own counsel, watch his back, and follow a bloody, unmarked trail toits bitter end.
Stunning, taut, bristling with suspense, The Blue Wall races to an explosive climax that will echo in memory long after the last page is turned.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Joey Tangliero is a mid-level Mob gofer who delivered cash to bad cops and aspired to a career in stand-up comedy. But a funny thing happened on Joey's way to the big time: he ended up in the federal witness protection program. His availability sets in motion a series of events that results in detectives Dave Moser and Ray Fielding investigating the death of Eva Cruz, the daughter of Adalberto Cruz, a South American crime boss with a line to the police commissioner's office. Although Cruz wants his daughter's killer caught, he won't cooperate with officials. Moser and Fielding pursue the investigation in spite of pressure to abandon the case, and the end result is a form of street justice that will leave readers drained but satisfied. This is that rare crime novel in which the author makes no attempt to find a deeper meaning. It's simply a well-told tale of tough folks--on both sides of the fence--doing hard jobs and coming into conflict. Very entertaining reading. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Resonant prose and a murky narrative result in a mixed verdict for this second work from the author of Bait. A girl's body is pulled from the Harlem River. Her Guatemalan father, Adalberto Cruz, and his silent bodyguard seem less than sorrowful. Dave Moser is the good cop on the case. Across town, a motor-mouthed mob guy is getting ready to testify against his buddies, and Deputy Marshall Claire Locke is in charge of guarding him. Part of his testimony involves regular payments made to cops. Abel's observant eye and clipped writing are considerably more accomplished than his pacing. The informant is a would-be comic whose lame patter drags on; the action lags similarly. Moser, in the midst of divorce proceedings, acts as though he's a cog in machinery whose controls are beyond his reach; both he and the readers spend time waiting for something to happen. At the same time, we watch a crooked cop and wait for him to get snarled up by Internal Affairs or to brutally silence his detractors, nearly forgetting, meanwhile, about Moser and the floater. Abel is a talented writer and he delivers a stunning conclusion, but getting there is heavy going. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this follow-up to Abel's acclaimed debut novel, Bait (LJ 3/1/94), a New York cop investigates a drowning. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



On Thursday, July 20, twelve hours after his open-mike debut at the Last Laugh Comedy Club in Garden City, Long Island, Joey ("the Wiseguy") Tangliero entered federal protective custody.  He was still wearing his double-breasted silk suit with a pale gray tie, diamond clasp, gold link bracelet, and pinkie ring, but he'd lost his Gucci loafers.  There were holes in both heels of his nylon gold-toes. "Sons'a bitches put me in the trunk of Tony Giardella's Lincoln," he said, peeling off the remnants of his socks.  "I'm in there with the fuckin' spare tires.  Oil filters, stuff like that.  They took my shoes so I couldn't kick my way out." He was seated in a conference room down the hall from the office of Merrill Conte, Assistant U.S.  Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, wincing as he dabbed at the cuts on his feet with a moist paper towel from the men's room.  He had grease smudges on his bald spot, and several buttons were missing from his shirt, so that it spread open across his broad stomach when he leaned forward. "You see the show?" he asked Deputy Federal Marshal Claire Locke.  She glanced up from the pad in her lap.  A telephone was tucked between her ear and shoulder.  On the other end of the line, violins were playing "Penny Lane." Every few seconds a voice came on to tell her that all operators were busy, but if she'd hold on, a customer service agent would be happy to take her reservation. "Yeah, I saw it." "Tell me the truth.  Was it that bad?" Claire shrugged.  "I'm not really the one to ask." "You laugh?" "No." He sighed, gazed down at his feet.  "I died up there, huh?" Claire remembered how he looked when, acting on a tip, they'd pulled the Lincoln over on the Cross Bronx, opened the trunk.  When he heard the key in the lock, he'd wet his pants.  The smell hit them as soon as they got the trunk open, Tony Giardella backing away in disgust. "Jesus, Joey! My car!" And there he'd been, curled up like a frightened child, his feet gashed and bloody from kicking at the hood latch, peering up at the cluster of federal agents and state police in the glare of the headlights.  Only when he saw the traffic whizzing past on the expressway, not some empty stretch of dirt road in the Jersey swamps, could he be coaxed out of the trunk.  Even at that moment, his hands still trembling as they helped him out of the trunk, he couldn't resist tugging at his cuffs, giving his tie a quick tug like Henny Youngman, saying-- "Hey, fuck 'em, they can't take a joke." Now, watching him heave a sigh, then dejectedly crumple the blood-soaked paper towel and drop it into the trash can beside him, Claire felt sorry for him. "The Gotti bit was kinda funny." He looked up, his eyes brightening. "You liked that? It's a good bit, right? Just needs a little refining.  The timing's off, but it's good material." He leaned toward her.  "Which part did you like best?" "Well, uh..." She searched her memory.  "The thing with the snake, I guess.  In the plate of tagliatelle." He pointed a finger at her.  "True story! I heard it from one'a the guys carried the casket at the funeral." "Yeah?" She glanced at him, made a note on her pad.  "And the guy really ate it?" "Hey, Gotti says eat the snake, you gonna be the one tells him no? Trust me, you ever find yourself in this situation, you tell 'em, pass the parmesan, 'cause you're gonna have yourself a little snack." He gave a surprised look, slapped his forhead.  "Ah, shit.  How come I couldn't think of that last night, huh? That's the punch line.  'A little snake snack.' I'm gonna use that next time." He placed both feet gingerly on the carpet, groaned as he raised up a few inches off the chair.  "Look't this.  I really fucked up my feet." Claire hung up the phone.  "All right, we got you set up in a suite at the York.  We'll keep you there for a few days, until Mr.  Conte's satisfied with your testimony.  After that, we can talk about the future.  Okay?" Tangliero shrugged.  "How's the food there?" "It's not the Ritz, but you won't starve." He nodded, watched her cross to the door, call one of the secretaries over.  He gave a sigh, wondering if there was a law that said cops had to dress like they sold auto parts.  Navy sport coat, black pants, a little bulge at the hip where they carried the gun.  A nice-looking woman, really.  Small, her figure hidden under the cop clothes, mostly, but everything where you'd expect it to be.  Her dark hair cut short, but soft-looking.  She brushed it back off her face, making her blue eyes come at you like searchlights.  Still, Joey thinking, not a bad deal, you gotta kill a few hours with a cop. When she'd introduced herself as a deputy federal marshal, he'd thought of Wyatt Earp, riding into Tombstone on a black horse, shooting it out with the gunslingers.  Her partner looked the part, a big guy with shoulders like he pumped iron, a little mustache that he kept neatly trimmed.  Put a cowboy hat on him, Tangliero thought, stick a horse between his legs, that's a federal marshal.  But he'd paused just long enough to grip Tangliero's hand, introduced himself in a southern drawl as "McCann," then vanished into the adjoining office.  Joey, glancing over at the slim, darkhaired woman who remained, thought, This is my protection? "How long you been a deputy?" Claire took some papers from a briefcase, laid them out on the conference table.  "Two years in January." "Yeah? What'd you do before this?" "I was in law school." Okay, he thought.  I'm dead. Excerpted from The Blue Wall by Kenneth Abel All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.