Carcaterra has been absent from the literary scene for a while due to personal reasons, but fortunately for his readers, has returned with a good story, solid writing and unforgettable characters; in other words, as good as ever.
Tin Badges is the designation given to retired detectives that have been asked to return to temporary duty to work on a case that for one reason or another is out of the reach of the active police.
“Tank” Rizzo has been retired, along with his partner Pearl, after an arrest went wrong and both were severely injured, Pearl reduced to becoming a paralyzed man confined to a wheel chair.
As the novel opens, Tank and his ex-partner have been handed a case involving a gangster kingpin named Gonzo. Tank assembles a group of the people that he normally assembles to help on the case. These include an ex-gangster who is the father of the woman that Tank has been involved with and who manages the restaurant that Tank frequents.
As Tank’s group begins to operate to bring down Gonzo, he is hit with the horrible news that his brother and sister-in-law have been killed in an auto accident. Tank is the only relative that Chris, his brother’s son, has, and he is brought kicking and squirming to live with him. While his nephew is getting settled in, he manages to enter the world of Tank’s team and it is found that he is a computer genius whose talents prove useful in the move against Gonzo.
Similarly to Carcaterra’s previous novels, once the reader is grabbed very quickly this book is impossible to put down until finished. What their operation entails in their move against Gonzo is the main part of the book. Most important though, is the description of the team assembled, how they work together, and what their particular skills are. I trust that I am correct in making the judgement that this book is just the first of succeeding novels about Tank and his group and the unorthodox ways they handle cases. It is also a safe assumption that these novels, and other non related ones, will be well done and capture the author’s readers quickly and keep them glued to the book until the end.
8/19 Paul Lane
TIN BADGES by Lorenzo Carcaterra. Ballantine Books (August 27, 2019). ISBN 978-0345483928. 304p.