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Death Will Help You Leave Him: A Humorous New York Mystery; Bruce Kohler #2 (Bruce Kohler Series)

Death Will Help You Leave Him: A Humorous New York Mystery; Bruce Kohler #2 (Bruce Kohler Series) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Zelvin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

This is the SECOND book in the Bruce Kohler mystery series by Agatha- and Derringer- Award nominee Elizabeth Zelvin.

"Zelvin’s second effort is even more addictive than her first. Death will help you leave him, but it won’t stop you from turning the pages.” -Reed Farrel Coleman, two-time Shamus award-winning author of Soul Patch

“With humor and heart, Zelvin writes about the challenges of sobriety and the beat of New York City with impressive accuracy. Death Will Help You Leave Him is a terrific read." -Alafair Burke, author of Angel's Tip


New Yorker Bruce Kohler, clean and sober for almost 10 months, is startled awake one rainy autumn night by a jolting phone call from his friend, Barbara. It seems her Al-Anon sponsee, Luz, came home to find her abusive boyfriend stabbed to death on the kitchen floor of her East Harlem apartment. Bruce and his best friend Jimmy (Barbara’s main squeeze) are curious, yet happy to leave it at a mob hit/drug deal gone bad. But Barbara, in classic codependent form, just can’t seem to mind her own business.

The trio takes a ride through the twists and turns of New York City in search of the killer, with Bruce all the while fielding booty calls mixed with pleas for help from his ex-wife Laura. But Laura’s hooked on Mac, who might be the death of her. Death Will Help You Leave Him is an over-the-top yet utterly believable depiction of mental illness and recovery, mixed in with a thrilling mystery that brings new meaning to the old adage “laughter is the best medicine.”

“Elizabeth Zelvin proves with this second outing that she is not only here to stay but is indeed the sober version of the Thin Man series. No higher praise than that—ask Nora or Nick. A wondrous read.” -Ken Bruen, Shamus award winner and Edgar finalist

“A heartbreaker of a novel. Through seamless prose and her lead series protagonist Bruce Kohler, Elizabeth Zelvin exposes the internal and external demons of recovering addicts and recovering lovers. Much more than a mere whodunit, Death Will Help You Leave Him is a whydunit and the ‘whys’ will haunt you long after the book is read.” -Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series.

Fans of Parnell Hall and Tony Dunbar (or any cozy mystery reader with a soft spot for humorous male sleuths) will love Bruce Kohler's wry musings and daring adventures.

When the phone rang at nine, I was cleaning my apartment. Sobriety, housework, up at the crack of dawn. I hardly recognized myself. I had made a few improvements in the place since I got out of detox. I had exchanged the mattress on the floor for a futon on a pale wood platform. The boxes of neglected possessions that had stuck to me like moss the last few years of my drinking were gone. Some stuff had ended up in the worthy-cause thrift shop on the corner, the rest in the nearest dumpster. I didn’t miss any of it. I’m not a moose. I don’t need moss.

The phone kept ringing. Probably Barbara, to tell me the game was afoot. She had a theory that playing detective would keep me from getting so bored with sobriety that I relapsed. Now I just had to locate the phone. Barbara, in a fit of helping, had organized the crap out of the whole apartment. I couldn’t find anything. I was baffled until I had the bright idea of following the cord away from the phone jack. I finally unearthed the phone in a tangled pile of clothes destined for the laundromat. I didn’t have to pick them up to smell them.


“Bruce! Are you really up at this hour or is that a clone with a different childhood?”

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1212 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: booksBnimble (19 Jan 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DDU77R8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #287,593 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written 21 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book as a freebie the series is one not to miss. Well written and recommend for any one who has lived with alcoholic or addicted people as it shows that with help from the right people anything is possible.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars 12 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
realised it was a series so did not continue reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breath of fresh air! 29 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have read all year! A different, and well researched, take on the New York detective genre. I look forward to reading more on these realistic and well rounded characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 15 Aug 2014
By Oracle
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved it; can't find better e books on the internet at such prices; get buying.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  166 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed for Midwest Book Review 3 Nov 2009
By Christy Tillery French - Published on
Recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler is taking things one day at a time with the help of his friends Jimmy and Barbara, while trying to place limits with his ex-wife who has bouts of depression and sporadically threatens suicide. Barbara, an addictions counselor, talks Bruce and Jimmy into doing some independent sleuthing when Luz Colon, her Al-Anon sponsee, is suspected of murdering her abusive boyfriend, Frankie Iacone. Frankie, a former drug dealer married to someone else, had just gotten out of rehab hours before being found dead in Luz's apartment. Barbara hopes Bruce and Jimmy may be able to learn more about Frankie and the people he knew through their AA connections. Along with Luz, the three team up and separate and team up again as they try to unearth the murderer. Eventually they step on the wrong toes, which places Bruce's and Luz's lives in danger.

This, the second in the mystery series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler, is an intriguing whodunit set against the gritty backdrop of New York City and its diverse cultures. As with the first, much emphasis is placed on the recovery process and Zelvin relays Kohler's, as well as others', constant battle with addiction in a realistic, empathetic manner. The plot moves at a quick pace with enough suspects to keep the reader guessing.
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT MY CUP OF TEA 5 Aug 2013
By Grandmother of six - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been dying for a good mystery so I picked an author I hadn't read before. Mostly I liked the title and the promise that this was a "humorous New York mystery." The first line intrigued me with the use of the fascinating word "scootched." You don't come across that word every day. Written in a cliche film noir style, the prose reminds me a bit of a Janet Evanovich knock-off. The set-up was interesting. All good.

But before long I became confused over who the narrator was. At first I thought the story was being told by a woman. Bruce Kohler notices things a woman would notice. His descriptions are feminine. Barbara seems to be his best friend. As a female writer, I know how tough it is to make dialogue sound masculine. The use of three main sleuths reminded me of one of my favorite writers, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries.

I forged ahead but pages of pointless dialogue overwhelmed me. Sometimes the scenes featured more than three people making it difficult to keep up with who was saying what. I started skimming. Sometimes when the point of view changed to Barbara or Luz, I would wonder who in the world is this talking. Suffice it to say, I found this mystery disappointing. Not because of the plot, but the excessive dialogue gives it a ponderous stalling feeling. Too much extra weight.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Whatever possessed anyone to dub this 25 Mar 2014
By mrsdepass - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"A Humorous New York Mystery" remains a mystery, at least to me. After reading the one- and two-star reviews, I acquired the book anyway, in the hope that the title reflected at least some hope. Unfortunately it was "so much hope (well, maybe not SO much), so little reward" and by the time I got to the end, I was wishing whoever croaked Frankie had saved one bullet for ME. (Actually, there wasn't much mystery surrounding whodunit although there were plenty of characters - and I use the term loosely - from which to choose.) The plot was like a drop of ink in the water, all manner of threads going every direction but toward forming a story. The AA and shrinkette agendas were much too pervasive - actually they were the main focus of the plot - balls constantly in play, with a token murder thrown in just for the occasional diversion and to give the "story" a genre to hang onto, and there was little, if anything, I found humerous. The only thing I can recommend giving this book is a wide berth.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing urban mystery 17 Oct 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
In New York, drug dealer Frankie Iacone is found dead in the apartment of his girlfriend Luz. The police suspects Luz stabbed her boyfriend who just came out of rehab as they insist her motive is learning he had a wife and children living in Brooklyn.

Luz's counselor Barbara, her boyfriend Jimmy and his best buddy recovering alcoholic Jimmy investigate the homicide. Bruce also struggles with his dealings with his former wife bipolar addict Laura who he still sleeps with and who tempts his addiction. Their unprofessional investigation leads the trio into trouble with the police and with associates of Frankie as they attend his funeral where they meet his warm Italian family including his pregnant wife.

In his second appearance (see DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER) Bruce and his amateur sleuth cohorts make for an intriguing urban mystery as they fumble their way through the city's most downtrodden residents trying to find the killer. The story line is a very dark look at the mean streets of New York from the view of the undesirable forgotten. For instance Bruce's ex spouse is a fascinating character as she uses the threat of suicide as a defense mechanism to get Bruce to come over and then either kicks him to curb or has sex with him. His confusion as to how to escape the relationship enhances a psychological look at New York's emotionally desperately needy as the people overwhelms the whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death Will Help You leave Him 19 Jun 2013
By Janice Law - Published on
Liz Zelman's Bruce Kohler, newly sober and conversant with all things therapeutic, is seriously into recovery. He'd be a dull boy but for his friends, Jimmie, a fellow surviver of AA, and Barbara, a spunky therapist who interprets her license as encompassing more than a little detective work on the side.

Barbara thinks murder cases are just the thing to keep Bruce off the booze and soon enough she presents him with a doozy. Her Al Anon sponsor's Luz's boyfriend has been found dead in her apartment. The corpse comes with drug-dealing associates and vengeful relatives, giving Bruce more than enough to keep his mind off drink - and focused on survival.

A wide variety of characters and bright dialogue if maybe a tad too much about the recovery process.
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