Followers of Tanenbaum's intelligent, 1970s-set series (Corruption of Blood, etc.) featuring married lawyers Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi will find that the author's punchy style perfectly suits his latest three-ring crime spectacle. After years on New York City payrolls, both attorneys have quit for private work?Karp for a top firm and Marlene, after keeping house for a while, to start a detective agency with her burnt-out ex-cop pal Harry Bello. For his first case, Karp represents Manhattan's Chief Medical Examiner as he sues to get his job back plus damages after he has been fired by the mayor working in tandem with Karp's old nemesis, D.A. Sanford Bloom. Marlene finds her new challenge in the schoolyard where her seven-year-old daughter, Lucy, plays. When a young mother ask Marlene's help in stopping a stalker, Marlene's sleuthing leads her to a Lower East Side women's shelter where Lucy befriends two traumatized children and insists that her mother help them. The plot curve, unsurprisingly to those who know the series, is tossed by regal but ever-difficult journalist Ariadne Stupenagel, Marlene's pushy college buddy, who's digging into the suspicious suicides?while in police custody?of three gypsy cabbies. What she unearths is improbably connected to both Marlene's and Karp's cases. The links among these three very dissimilar narrative threads strains credulity, but Tanenbaum's talent is large, and so are his characters. These assets, along with a shot of genuine compassion for the troubles of children, enable him to just pull this one off. If readers won't quite believe the shockingly unconventional resolution, they'll still be affected by it, leaving them eager to know where this heroic family of crimefighters goes from here.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
The dynamic crime-solving duo of Butch Karp and his feisty wife, Marlene Ciampi, is back, and this time they have an extra set of brains: their 7-year-old daughter, Lucy. Falsely Accused is Robert K. Tanenbaum's eighth book in this ongoing series featuring Butch and Marlene as they uncover big-city misdeeds, sleaze, and corruption. In this edge-of-the-seat thriller, Butch is working as a litigator for a New York law firm, defending a bigwig client named Murray Selig, who was recently fired as chief medical examiner. The circumstances surrounding Selig's dismissal are questionable to say the least, and very soon a veritable hot pot of political wrongdoings is exposed. Meanwhile, Marlene is busy burning the candle at both ends--she's a full-time mom to the precocious Lucy, and she also heads a detective agency specializing in the protection of battered women--here she encounters more troubles. Tanenbaum brilliantly blends together several subplots and mininarratives--what is the secret of the two refugee children? What are the mayor and D.A. hiding? What is the story behind the deaths of several New York cabbies? Tanenbaum convincingly (and amazingly) pulls together these separate plots into a gripping conclusion.
"Falsely Accused" is one of the best books in the Kaep/Ciampi series. It contains everything a mystery lover could want, interwoven plots, snappy dialogue, narrative flow, memorable characters and a great ending, consistent with the story lines.
Butch Karp has gone into private practice and his first case has him battling city hall. Karp's wife, Marlene Ciampi has opened a private detective agency protecting women from domestic violence. Their separate investigations lead into one nasty case of murder.