The Mysterious Bookshop

Stella, Charlie

Despite a slow start, Stella's debut picks up enough steam to distinguish itself from the scores of other crime novels. Since quitting his mob duties, finding a job as a word processor, and getting married, Eddie Senta has become dissatisfied with his life. His new employment bores him, and his marriage is crumbling because his wife is expecting a child something Eddie definitely doesn't want. Instead of dealing with his midlife crisis by buying a Corvette, Eddie agrees to one last score partly to get a jolt and partly to help out a friend in need. The plan is to conduct a quick and easy job, but, not surprisingly, it goes awry, leaving Eddie suspected of murder, with the police, the FBI, and the real killer chasing him. Stella's characters are all too believable, and the novel manages a lightness throughout despite its dark subject matter. Written by an off off Broadway playwright, this promising first novel should move from library shelves where crime fiction is popular.