“Cop Job” (The Permanent Press), by Chris Knopf
The Hamptons, a group of hamlets on Long Island’s south fork, is one of America’s most opulent summer colonies — one that is gradually crowding out what is left of the fishing villages and workmen’s cottages that once dotted the shoreline. Sam Acquillo, a former pro boxer turned cabinetmaker, stands astride these worlds, not always entirely comfortable in either.
This makes him well positioned to pursue his hobby — sticking his nose into police investigations. In the past, Sam’s meddling has not been welcomed by the local authorities. In fact, the district attorney’s office has tried to bring criminal charges against him. But in “Cop Job,” the sixth novel in this series, the police chief and prosecutor invite Sam to investigate the murder of a disabled war veteran.
At first, Sam wonders why, but it doesn’t take him long to figure out that the victim was a police informer, that two other “snitches” had recently turned up dead and that officials fear an insider might have leaked their names to local drug smugglers.
As Sam tries to piece the case together, he is threatened, someone close to him is attacked, and he and his sidekick, attorney Jackie Swaitkowski, find themselves with a hoard of colorful suspects. The case is so puzzling that it seems Sam may never get to the bottom of it. But of course he does, wrapping everything up with a slam-bang action finish.
As always with a Chris Knopf novel, the writing is as sharp and precise as Sam’s wood chisels, making “Cop Job” a worthy entry in this entertaining series.