Before the Devil knows You're Dead
by Michael Ledwidge
Category: Fiction / Mystery
320 pages; ISBN: 0743442857
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
John Coglin is a dedicated New York patrol officer who transferred to Street Crimes. His girl is pregnant with his child and any day he is going to give her a ring so they can start their life together.
On his way home from work, he notices a group of teen-age thugs beating up an old man. He intervenes only to have the leader Ream almost kills Coglin. Expecting to die, Coglin shoots the black teen. A fellow officer arrives and places a throwaway gun in the vicinity of Ream. At first it’s judged an acceptable homicide, but the media and political forces working behind the scene stir up the public. Coglin goes on trial for second-degree murder, but receives a tip that he’s going to be found guilty. He joins his Uncle Aidan, a former IRA assassin and bank robber extraordinare, on a plan to rob a Rockerfeller Center office of millions of dollars worth of diamonds. However, a very special visitor at the office where the gems are located leads to the Feds. Only FBI Agent Collette can, if she chooses, bring salvation to Coglin.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD is a dark and gritty urban noir novel. It is unfair that the protagonist goes to trial and what happens during it makes him realize that those who he thought were friends or allies have turned their back on him or actually betrayed him. It’s difficult to judge him because few would know what they would do given his choices. Michael Ledwidge plays on the emotions of the readers like a master pianist.
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