Gus Murphy was a shell of the man he had been two years ago, before the death of his son. He was going through the motions, living, if you can call it that, one day at a time, consumed in grief and pity as his life crumbled around him. Gus went from being a happy husband, father of two, veteran Suffolk County Police Officer, to driving a courtesy van for a fledgling hotel on Long Island, living in a room he was provided as compensation for his work.
Gus was nearing his bottom when Tommy Delcamino, a low level criminal he had the pleasure of arresting several times over his career, found him at the hotel. Tommy’s son had been murdered, and Tommy thought the police were doing nothing about it, so he came to Gus for help.
Tommy’s request proved to be life-changing for Gus, providing him with challenges he never could have imagined, and not just in the difficulty of helping Tommy. Gus had to question everything: who he had been, who he had become, his career, what was left of his marriage, what was left of his life. The process nearly cost him his life, but in the end, arguably saved it.
In Where it Hurts, Mr. Coleman created a great balance in storytelling and character development. Protagonist Gus Murphy transforms from an angry, broken down, hopeless ex-cop to a damaged but optimistic man learning to live again. With more insight than one might expect from a crime fiction, Gus recognizes that his life will never be the same after the death of his son, but he has to find a new normal that will suit what he has become. He does so relentlessly and honestly,
|Author Reed Farrel Coleman|
“What was left of him lived now only as pieces of the people who had known him. And when we were dead and in the wind, he would be forgotten. That was still the hardest part to take, that he would be forgotten so soon.”
But Where it Hurts is not just about Gus Murphy and his rebirth. It includes a fast-paced and well told story containing everything a good murder mystery should: theft, drugs, sex, murder, and corruption!
I look forward to reading more about Gus Murphy and his progress. But as I found myself hopeful, Gus himself provided a warning about the very hope that he had created,
“I hoped it was real, but I knew hope was the meanest feeling humans were capable of. Nothing tortured you the way hope could.”
Coleman, Reed Farrel. Where it Hurts, G.P. Putnam's Sons, January 2016.
An advance copy of Where it Hurts was provided by the publisher. No compensation was provided for this review.