Kensington, Oct 2004, 6.99, 320 pp.
In 1896, thanks to his exposť article on Tammany Hall corruption, Harper's magazine hires reporter Marshall Webb while the Lexow Committee tries to see that corrupt politicians and cops do time. Marshall wants to work on a different story and his boss is eager to oblige him. His topic of choice is to look at the upcoming referendum to decide whether Brooklyn and Staten Island should merge with Manhattan; supporters and opponents are volatile on the subject.
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He attends the town meeting hosted at Brooklyn's Canarsie Hall where wealthy industrialist Joshua Thompson provides a rousing speech in support of the third largest city in America remaining independent. As Marshall interviews Joshua, shots are fired; Joshua is dead. Detective Buck Morehouse investigates the homicide; he teams up with Marshall using the reporter as bait to lure a killer.
Troy Soos has written a fantastic historical mystery starring a likeable hero. His girlfriend wealthy socialite Rebecca Davies, who runs a home for women in trouble, plays more of a secondary role this time as opposed to her prime actions in the previous novels. The most intriguing character is Detective Morehouse, who receives free gratuities that today would be considered corruption but is quite acceptable in the Gay Nineties of New York. This well written and thoroughly researched BURNING BRIDGES, besides containing a wonderful period piece who-done-it, also leaves the audience with the concept that crime, including corruption and graft is defined by society, which changes the definition periodically.