Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Murder in the Marsh by Kevin Carey


 The year 1980. The city of Revere. It is a coastal town right outside of Boston, but the Hub's skyline looks like OZ to the denizens of this gone-to-seed burg.

Carey, who is originally from Revere--knows the walk and can talk the talk. He is able to catch the bullshit banter of the barroom, and the invective from the numerous poseurs, thugs and cops, that circle each other in a compost heap of their own making. Carey's brutal dialogue reminds me of my favorite Boston crime writers--the late George Higgins  ( "The Friends of Eddie Coyle").

Have if you will, detective Eddie Devlin. A 40ish-- disgraced cop--with a bad elbow. He has only one true friend, and a wheelchair  bound-- almost girlfriend-- Gwen. She is a muse to this brooding poor man's Hamlet, as he tries to track the murderer who ruined his career and life.

Carey chooses the Marsh in Revere--a poignant symbol of all the hidden and repressed secrets that  are below the scum of the surface. The Marsh is a cesspool of corpses and rotting detritus--it envelopes the whole story.

Devlin is on a journey to redeem himself, and Carey brings his crazed quest into full bloom. He portrays Devlin as almost as feral as his prey.

I can see echoes of Dennis Lehane, and Robert Parker in this story. But this story has a unique Revere feel to it, with all its greasy fried clams, stunted lives, rotgut booze, and the biker bars, wonderfully brought to seedy life.

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