Recent Events

Thursday, 9 August 2018

‘Head Wounds’ by Dennis Palumbo


Published by Poisoned Pen Press,
February 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0816-4 (HB)

From the publisher:   Psychologist Dr. Daniel Rinaldi consults with the Pittsburgh Police. His specialty is treating victims of violent crime - - those who’ve survived an armed robbery, kidnapping, or sexual assault, but whose traumatic experience still haunts them.  “Head Winds” picks up where Rinaldi’s investigation in “Phantom Limb” left off, turning the tables on him as he, himself, becomes the target of a vicious killer.  “Miles Davis saved my life.”  With these words, Rinaldi becomes a participant in a domestic drama that blows up right outside his front door, saved from a bullet to the brain by pure chance.  In the chaos that follows, Rinaldi learns his bad-girl, wealthy neighbor has told her hair-triggered boyfriend Rinaldi is her lover.  As things heat up, Rinaldi becomes a murder suspect.  But this is just the first act in this chilling, edge-of-your-seat thriller.  As one savagery follows another, Rinaldi is forced to relive a terrible night that haunts him still.  And to realize that now he - - and those he loves - - are being victimized by a brilliant killer still in the grip of delusion. Determined to destroy Rinaldi by systemically targeting those close to him - - his patients, colleagues and friends - - computer genius Sebastian Maddox thrives to cause as much psychological pain as possible, before finally orchestrating a bold, macabre death for his quarry.  How ironic.  As Pittsburgh morphs from a blue-collar town to a tech giant, a psychopath deploys technology in a murderous way.  Enter two other figures from Rinaldi’s past:  retired FBI profiler Lyle Barnes, once a patient who Rinaldi treated for night terrors; and Special Agent Gloria Reese, with whom he falls into a surprising, erotically charged affair.  Warned by Maddox not to e3ngage the authorities or else random innocents throughout the city will die, Rinaldi and these two unlikely allies engage in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with an elusive killer who’ll stop at nothing in pursuit of what he imagines is revenge.

The reader is put on notice of what awaits with a quote from no less a writer than Albert Camus:  “The desire for possession is insatiable, to such a point that it can survive even love itself.”

The Miles Davis reference, which is the first line in the book, is from a scene where Rinaldi is reading a 3-inch-thick dossier written about his late wife, hidden in the pages of which “was an overlooked or ignored piece of evidence proving that my wife’s death almost a dozen years ago hadn’t been what it seemed. That the gunfire that ended Barbara’s life was not the lethal result of a mugging gone wrong.  It was murder.”  Two bullets killed his wife, the third hitting him in the head.  The ensuing novel is all about finding the man who had killed his wife, who now wants him dead. He is now “working out my survival guilt.  A misguided attempt to make up for the fact that Barbara had died that fateful night and I hadn’t.”  It is an understatement to say that it is wonderfully well-written, suspenseful, and a complete page-turner.

The descriptions of Pittsburgh are terrific [to a lifelong New Yorker]:  “The Steel City continued to morph from a blue-collar, industrial town into a gentrified, white-collar hub of business and technology. . . Pittsburgh now boasted a new, modern skyline, no longer obscured by dark plumes of smoke from a hundred smokestacks.”  Rinaldi and his two comrades take on Maddox in an unpredictable chase that kept me glued to the page.

Another fascinating entry [the fifth] in a much-loved series, and one which is highly recommended.
------
Reviewer: Gloria Feit
 
Dennis Palumbo  formerly a Hollywood screenwriter is now a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in creative issues. Author of Writing From the Inside Out (John Wiley), his first novel was a sci-fi thriller, City Wars (Bantam Books), before he turned to crime. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Strand, and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). His acclaimed debut crime novel, Mirror Image, was the first in a series featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi. It was followed by Fever Dream and Night Terrors. All from Poisoned Pen Press, and all available in print, audio and e-book formats.
Dennis also blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and writes a column called "Hollywood on the Couch" for the Psychology Today website. For more info, visit


Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

No comments:

Post a comment