Where It Hurts (A Gus Murphy Novel) by Reed Farrel Coleman

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Where It HurtsThis is the first book I have read by Mr. Coleman and I would have to say I was really into it. A great mystery involving a retired Suffolk County cop who is really battling his own demons due to the loss of his son. The young boy had been diagnosed with a heart problem but then too soon he passed away due to that problem. Gus Murphy, the retired cop, and his wife both were so depressed that they could do nothing but get on each other’s case until boom, they ended up divorced.

So now Murphy, retired and divorced, goes to live in a very run-down hotel and begins working as a driver for the hotel’s van and also as security for the hotel. He is not at all happy but realizes that it all has to do with his unyielding grief.

Out of the past comes a two-bit crook that Gus had had dealings with many times while working as a cop. This time however Tommy Delcamino has sought out Gus to help him find Delcamino’s son’s murderer. The boy appears to have been somewhat involved with drugs as both a user and pusher. His dad doesn’t feel that the police are really working the case because he believes that someone in the police department was also involved in the mess that got the boy killed. Gus abruptly runs Tommy D off and says he has no interest in the case especially because he believes Tommy D is trying to play on Gus’s feelings about his own son’s death.

Things begin to change however a bit later when Gus discovers that Tommy D has now also been murdered but he left an envelope for Gus to have. That envelope gave some names and hints about drugs, dirty cops, and three thousand dollars that Tommy D felt would pay for Gus’s time.

Mainly because of Tommy D’s death Gus decides to begin his own investigation into what happened and what is going on. He has several cop friends who he knows he can trust but when he tries to use them they tell him that they have been told that he is “off limits” and no one is to deal with him.

However he does have one longtime cop friend who is willing to do what he can and Gus also has a couple of semi-tough guys who work at his hotel who very quickly offer assistance whenever and wherever they can.

The author then continues to build on the various happenings not only in the ongoing drug trafficking but also on Gus’s friendship with Father Bill, who is a retired preacher with a somewhat messed up mind due to Vietnam. Altogether there are many things that begin to occur that really hold the reader’s attention.

As he digs deeper and deeper Gus isn’t sure exactly who is on the right side of the law and who isn’t especially in the law enforcement segment. But added to that are the various members of the community who may or may not also be involved.

Overall a very good read although right at the end you almost need a score card to see who is and who isn’t on Gus’s side and what did or did they not do. Interesting story!

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