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Robert K. Tanenbaum continues his long-running crime series with its 25th installment, TRAGIC.

Butch Karp is a District Attorney in New York City who is married to fellow lawyer Marlene Ciampi, a private attorney. Together, they have helped put away a whole host of criminals and freed some innocent people. This time, they are up against a tough, cold-blooded union leader, Charlie Vitteli, who has just been “elected” to the post of the North American Brotherhood of Stevedores. He obtained the post after the union favorite, Vince Carlotta, was murdered in an apparent robbery gone bad. But things aren’t always as they look, especially in this type of story.

"[T]here are enough twists and turns here to satisfy lovers of suspense/thrillers and fans of this long-running series."

Vitteli is with Carlotta on the night Carlotta is murdered. He tells the cops they were held up by armed robbers, leading to Carlotta getting shot. But when Ciampi investigates the scene of the crime, she notices things that others have missed --- an empty beer bottle, cigarette butts, and the presence of three bag ladies as potential witnesses. Gradually, the pieces of the puzzle come together, portraying a completely different picture from the police account.

The so-called armed robbers are tried and put in jail. During the trial, Vitteli is fingered as the man who ordered a “hit” on Carlotta and is arrested. But even when the prosecutors think they have everything figured out so they can nail Vitteli, proving their theories turns out to be a big job, as Vitteli does everything he can to cover up the truth.

Tanenbaum likens the story to Shakespeare’s famous play, Macbeth, with all its drama, twists and turns. The novel opens with Karp attending the play with his family. Bits from scenes are recalled throughout the text as they match those that are playing out in the story.

This is only the second Butch Karp book that I’ve read. As with the first, CAPTURE, TRAGIC has numerous plots and subplots that were difficult to follow at times, causing my attention to periodically wander from the story. Still, there are enough twists and turns here to satisfy lovers of suspense/thrillers and fans of this long-running series.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on August 16, 2013

by Robert K. Tanenbaum

  • Publication Date: February 25, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • ISBN-10: 1451635567
  • ISBN-13: 9781451635560