First Sentence: I was trying to maneuver my way across the muddy construction site when Frank Entwhistle ran up to my old Jeep Cherokee and slapped on the windshield.
Sam Acquillo has been building cabinets for the new home of wealthy New Yorker Victor Bollings. When Bollings’ body is found on the job site, Colombian illegal Ernesto Mazzoti, a finish carpenter and Sam’s friend, is arrested as the obvious suspect. The murder weapon contains Ernesto’s fingerprints, but Sam isn’t buying it. With the help of Jackie Swaitkowski, a defense attorney who, courtesy of billionaire Burton Lewis, takes the cases of those who can’t afford to pay, Sam works to prove Ernesto innocent.
It is nice when an author starts straight in with the crime. Sam is a great character with a fascinating background and unexpected skills. Just when his machismo starts becoming a bit strong, it is tempered by his caring for others. His lover, Amada, and dog, Eddie Van Halen, round out the character nicely. It is also nice that Knopf’s writing is wonderfully intelligent and that he provides a good sense of Eastern Long Island with its marked contrast between the extremely wealthy, primarily summer people, and the working-class people who live there year-round.
A well-done metaphor is always a pleasure to read—”Then I used a few other traditional calibrating tools to reset the table saw. … The result was perfect and true, like the heart of a young lover before disappointment upends her soul.”
The storyline of undocumented workers couldn’t be more timely or accurate. That the investigation involves multiple agencies, and a jaunt to the Virgin Islands adds dimensions to the story. So too is that of the issue with which Amanda is dealing which is emotional and adds yet another layer to the plot as well as the characters.
“Tango Down” is intelligent, complex, and multi-layered, with a realistic ending and a tug to the heart. Knopf is an author who should be much more widely known and read.
TANGO DOWN (PI-Sam Acquillo -Long Island, NY-Contemp) - Ex
Knopf, Chris – 8th in series
The Permanent Press – December 2017