Archive for 'Lehane, Con'
DEATH AT THE OLD HOTEL is the third book in the Brian McNulty series. Brian is a bartender at the Savoy Hotel in New York City in the early 1990’s. The workers at the hotel are between a rock and a hard place – the hotel is a dumping ground for union malcontents who have had conflicts with the union management, but who put up with the low pay and difficult working conditions because they need to keep their jobs. But when the corruption at the hotel becomes obvious and the enforcers and the management start to whittle down their numbers, the hotel staff takes action and goes on strike. And Brian finds himself in charge of the striking staff.
The strikers’ solidarity is jeopardized by both conflicts amongst themselves and by two murders. Everyone on the picket line has a lot to lose – they are risking their jobs, deportation, and accusations of murder are in the air. Brian is feeling the pressure from them, the union, the police, and from his labor-organizer father. At some point, Brian realizes that this strike isn’t going to end well for everyone and that all he can do is find the best solution for himself and the bulk of his fellow workers.
In THE OLD HOTEL, Lehane has drawn on his previous experience as both a bartender and a union organizer to bring detail and a fantastic realism to this book. The situation is a tough one and there is an undercurrent of danger that colors all the actions of the characters, who alternate between determined, scrappy, and desperate.
Lehane’s writing is wonderful and there isn’t a character or situation that rings false. Because the characters seem so real, the risks also seem real and I was riveted, waiting to see how Brian would extricate himself and his fellows from jeopardy. And Lehane stays true to life to the end, which, like real life, isn’t happy for everyone.
Favorite character? Brian himself. Did I guess it? No – and my single complaint about this book would be that we don’t get the crucial piece if information until right near the end. Will I read another? Yes.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com ©2007