From its jarring opening at the scene of a robbery gone bad to the sad, clever twist at the end, Edgar-winner Kaminsky keeps the reader hooked with wry characterizations, dilemma-fed action and a well-organized plot. A man of earthy decency with a face like an old bloodhound and a quiet persistence to match, Chicago detective Abe Lieberman manages to stint neither his family nor his job as he starts his day with the confession of a would-be killer and moves on into the week with two murders to solve and a bar-mitzvah and a roof to pay for while his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan, defies a Chinese tong leader to marry the woman he loves. Point of view shifts among the very bad day of a jewel thief on the run, Hanrahan, some middle-class punk kids mixed up in murder and Lieberman himself. An insomniac with high cholesterol and a love of good Jewish food, Lieberman maintains his good humored resignation to the things he cannot change while occasionally dispensing his own generous justice.
Kaminsky's deadpan rythmn is reminiscent of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels, while his dark humor, morally centered plots, economical, observant prose and dogged, amiable hero set the series apart.