Dialogues of a Crime
by John K Manos
on Tour March 17 - May 31, 2014
Book Details:Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: Amika Press
Publication Date: July 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: July 26, 2013
NOTE: Excessive strong language & Graphic violence
Reviews:Kirkus: "BEST INDIE THRILLS AND KILLS OF 2013" "A character-driven crime novel ruled by complex men facing the past."
GUEST POST by John K. Manos:
Dialogues of a Crime has two main characters, a crime victim/potential criminal/probable witness named Michael Pollitz, and Larry Klinger, the detective who investigates him. Kirkus Reviews described the book as “a character-driven crime novel ruled by complex men facing the past.” It’s an accurate description of these two profoundly wounded men.
We first meet Michael Pollitz as a 19-year-old college student in 1972 who is arrested for assisting in the sale of a controlled substance—specifically, for showing an undercover agent to a dormitory room where he can purchase drugs. Pollitz is poor, but his closest friend is the youngest child of a highly placed
mobster: Pollitz has access to the best criminal attorneys. But his father
insists that he use a public defender, which results in a plea bargain that
sends Pollitz for a short sentence in an Illinois
work farm. While there he is brutally beaten and raped by three men. Pollitz
will not reveal the identities of his assailants, but before he is released, he
delivers highly specific threats against their lives—and he is picked up at the
prison by the Outfit boss. The experience and his response to it clearly haunt
the formerly happy, inquisitive young man.
We next see Pollitz in
1994, a long-divorced advertising
executive who finds his career utterly unsatisfying; his term for it is
“insipid.” His ex-wife describes him as frozen inside, as if his career is
static because he cannot expend the effort to exploit his own intelligence, and
his emotions are unrevealed because they are completely out of his own reach. Pollitz
needs something, but he could not say what it is. Just the same, becoming the
focus of Klinger’s investigation into a pair of
22-year-old murders is not the sort of change Pollitz craved. Did he
commit the murders? Does he know the perpetrators of two savagely violent executions?
Was he somehow a participant in the crimes? As he dodges and parries Klinger’s
probes, Pollitz begins to realize the depth of his own solitude and yearning
for a real connection with another complex, damaged human being—even one who
can destroy the peace and security of his life. Pollitz begins to give in to an
urge to explain himself and to draw the detective into his own concepts of
crime and punishment.
Larry Klinger is a 51-year-old job-weary
Chicago cop when we meet him in 1994. His
previous gig as a detective was in homicide, working out of Area 6, where the
city’s most bizarre and therefore interesting murders occur. But for several
years he has been working in the gang crimes unit, trying to build cases
against everyone from the Latin Kings and El Ruhkns to the Spanish Cobras and
the Outfit. One of the major disappointments of his new assignment was that
even the canniest Mob bosses have pretty much the same motivations and
rationalizations as the street rats he packed off to prison for bar murders. A Vietnam veteran
who earned a Purple Heart at the November 1965 Ia Drang battle, Klinger’s
marriage ended after his six-year-old son died in 1972. Overweight and feeling
even heavier with years and loss, Klinger carries a burden of loneliness,
boredom and sorrow that rests like a dead weight on his soul. When he
encounters Pollitz and the possibility of a genuinely complicated case, he
pounces with a hunger that is almost driven by desperation. As his
investigation proceeds, he becomes intrigued by Pollitz and ultimately comes to
regard the suspect as a friend, developing a respect for the younger man’s keen
intelligence, wit, and powerful sense of loyalty. In the end, Klinger faces a
moral dilemma that he solves by choosing the possibility of true friendship
over an inflexible definition of justice.
Synopsis:(from Kirkus Reviews)
In Dialogues of a Crime, Michael Pollitz must decide whether to protect the mobster who has protected him.
When Mike, a college student in 1972 Illinois, is arrested on drug charges, his father insists he use a public defender. His childhood friend’s father, Dom Calabria, head of the Outfit in Chicago, wants to help Mike by providing a first-rate lawyer, but Mike goes with his father’s wishes. The outcome is a plea bargain for a short stay in Astoria Adult Correctional Facility—but after he’s brutally beaten and raped by three inmates, Mike spends most of his sentence in the infirmary. He doesn’t give up his assailants’ names but threatens their lives right before he’s set to be released. When Mike is picked up by the head of the mob, people notice.
Flash forward to 1994, when Detective Larry Klinger begins investigating the murders of two former Astoria inmates who were violently killed shortly after being released. An informant—the third man who beat Mike—tells Klinger that the murders were committed by Calabria, the kingpin whom Klinger would like to see taken down. Klinger investigates, coming in contact with Mike, and the two form a friendship. When Klinger realizes that Mike will never give up Calabria, he begins to wonder whether it’s even worth investigating the murders of such evil men.