Friday, January 4, 2013

The Man Who Liked to Look at Himself: K. C. Constantine

K. C. Constantine is another author I am getting reacquainted with. I read some of his books years ago and have been meaning to read some more for quite a while.

Constantine has written a series that mostly features the chief of police of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania, Mario Balzic. Some of the later books feature one of his detectives, after Mario has retired. The books were written between 1972 and 2000.

This week I read the 2nd in the series (of 17 books). I was mesmerized again by the writing. I know nothing of what life in a small Pennsylvania town was like in the early 1970's, but this book made it feel real. And very gritty.

This a very short book with a very long title. For most of the book, I was wondering what the title, The Man Who Liked to Look at Himself meant. And at 155 pages, it was a quick and enjoyable read.

The crime is discovered almost immediately. A dog finds a portion of a bone which looks to be human on hunting grounds used by the police department in the fictional town of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania. More remains are found subsequently and the body is identified. The book is a whodunit but it is primarily about how and why such a crime occurred. The book also examines the community, which has been hit hard by the loss of jobs and industry in the area. The protagonist is dealing with a new boss, who has troubling racial biases.

The author, K. C. Constantine, writes beautifully and has a good command of dialogue. All of the characters are very well developed, the policemen, the suspects and the witnesses. I highly recommend this book.


Robin M said...

I've never heard of K.C. Constantine. Sounds like an interesting author and series.

TracyK said...

Very interesting, but avoided publicity. I hear he did an interview in 2011.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I'm with Robin though I hear a buzz about this writer in some far corner of my brain. That dust-jacket and title are enough to make one reach out for his books. Good choice and review, Tracy.

Anonymous said...

Tracy - do I. Constantine doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves and I've always liked the Balzic character. The stories ring true too - or maybe that's just becuase I grew up in Pennsylvania, so it 'feels' authentic. Thanks for the fine review.

Peggy Ann said...

Thanks for introducing me to a new author! I will be looking for his books. Hopefully I can get them at the library. I love in Pennsylvania!

Sarah said...

I've never heard of this writer Tracy and yet he sounds fascinating. Definitely one to look out for I think.

Mrs A. said...

Never heard of this writer bfore either butyou have made his books sound very appealing. Will be watching out for him in my travels.
Hugs Mrs A.

She Reads Late Into the Night said...

Sounds like a great first read for the mystery/crime reading challenge, thanks for linking it up!
Amy Yingling
The Crafty Book Nerd