Putnam, Sep 2001, 23.95, 288 pp.
New York history writer Terry Orr turned private sleuth is after Raymond Weisz who killed his son by pushing the young child into an oncoming train. Terry's beloved wife also died when she tried to rescue her child. Terry still grieves his loss and writes in a journal addressed to his wife. Still he believes that bringing Weisz to justice will give him closure. Because of this, Terry's twelve-year-old daughter Bella seems more like the adult at times in their relationship.
While jogging in Manhattan, Terry finds the battered corpse of cabby Aubrey Brown. When he learns the man was a loner with a tragic past, Terry feels an affinity to the victim even though he loves Bella. Terry begins to investigate who killed the African-American taxi driver. However, Terry is sidetracked when he rescues his daughter and his wife's former agent from a bomb that exploded at the latter's art gallery. He has another case to investigate because the obsessed Terry feels he must get involved.
CLOSING TIME is an engaging private investigative tale that feels more like an amateur sleuth story because Terry has no experience whatsoever in his new line of work. Terry is a maudlin character while Bella is a cheerful individual who seems much older than the preadolescent she is. The story line centers on Terry rather than on any of his three investigations, but that allows the audience a deep look inside the emotional chopped meat of the hero's soul. Jim Fusilli has written a powerful character study inside an engaging mystery novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner