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Coleman is an excellent writer; I was happy to have discovered him years ago. I have listened to 8 of his books and read others. I especially enjoyed the Moe Praeger series. However, I found this outing quite disappointing. The protagonist, Gus Murphy, is clinically depressed because his 20-year old son, his pride and joy, dropped dead from an undetected heart defect while playing basketball. This has in fact occurred in real life. As a father of an adult son, I can imagine the grief that followed. The disintegration of his heretofore wonderful family life is all too believable. This is not an event that one can ever get over, and it takes a long time before a parent can resume full-functioning. I also understand depression; it cannot be reasoned with. I was glad he got help from a competent therapist. Nevertheless, it doesn't make for an interesting story to listen repeatedly to Gus's recitation of the same list of grievances, his loss of faith, his lack of motivation, the breakup of his marriage, his daughter's emotional problems, his temper tantrums, his boozing, etc. Sometimes it seemed like filler. It interfered with the progress of the story which became terribly tedious. Incidentally, there is a mystery to be solved -- an increasing number of interrelated murders, a mixture of gangs, drugs, and police corruption. Unfortunately, you've heard it all before. Still, it may have been interesting to follow his progress toward solving the puzzles had it not taken second place to his mood swings. I even lost track of the nicknames of some of the characters; there are a great many of them.
This is clearly the first of a series; I hope that Gus's emotional state at the end of the book allows the author to bring future episodes up to the level of the Moe Praeger series. I don't want to wade through another swamp again.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Like Coleman's Moe Prager books, Where it Hurts is as much character study as mystery and it's strength lies in it's heartbroken protagonist, Gus Murphy. Murphy's life is in disarray when we meet him and he's wounded enough to be okay with that. However, as the mystery at the center of this fine novel takes shape, Murphy is drawn into and changed by it. It's a satisfying journey, well narrated by Chris Andrew Ciulla. Coleman's strengths as a writer are all on display: good pacing, an intriguing story and most importantly an emotionally engaging character at the heart of the tale. I really enjoyed it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful