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Not Quite Kosher: An Abe Lieberman Mystery [Hardcover]

Stuart M. Kaminsky
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 6 2002 Abe Lieberman Mysteries (Book 7)
An Abe Lieberman mystery

Abe Lieberman is a strong, sympathetic character, an Everyman whose love for his family is only matched by his quiet, zealous commitment to justice. "A figure out of Talmudic lore-endearing, wise in his crotchets, weary with his wisdom," says The Washington Post. He loves what he does, but it takes its toll as his commitment to what is right is sorely tested every day on the mean streets of Chicago. As a moral man, he is sometimes faced with some uncomfortable ethical choices in order to see that justice-rather than the letter of the law-is meted out.

And in Not Quite Kosher, the latest Abe Lieberman mystery by veteran Edgar Award-winning Stuart Kaminsky, our hangdog sleuth is up to his eyeballs in tsurris, the kind of trouble that will drive a man to madness. From tracking a pair of low-rent thieves who stumble into a heist way over their heads to finding out what happened to a man who predicted his own death in a bizarre twist of fate, not to mention planning for a grandson's bar mitzvah that threatens to send him to the poorhouse, Lieberman will do much to find a way to make everything right, even if it takes years off his life.

And his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahn, the Priest to Lieberman's Rabbi, is in trouble of his own making. For the woman he loves is the object of affection of one of the kingpins of the Asian crime syndicate in Chicago and the notion of this woman marrying anyone from a different culture is anathema. How far will he go to win the woman he loves? And at what cost?

Just another day in the lives of a pair of Chicago's most amiably odd detective team . . .

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From Amazon

Chicago policeman Abe Lieberman, beleaguered friend and family man, is vexed with enough tsuris to put him off his blintz- and bagel-impoverished diet. For one thing, there's the confession of a murder that didn't happen made by a man who thinks he's talking to a rabbi when he makes it. Then there's a gang of delinquents who might be responsible for the deaths of a couple of floaters that turn up in Abe's territory. And if that's not enough, Abe's partner, an Irishman engaged to a Chinese woman who's the object of an Asian crime boss's affection, wants him to be best man at his wedding. Throw in a grandson's bar mitzvah that threatens to bankrupt him and an unruly synagogue board, and you've got the ingredients of a typical, warmhearted cozy that won't raise your bubbe's blood pressure but is nonetheless a likable diversion. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

You can always expect a witty, entertaining read from prolific Edgar-winner Kaminsky, and he delivers the goods in this seventh Lieberman novel (after 2000's The Big Silence). Abe Lieberman, the tolerant, justice-seeking Chicago homicide detective, needs the skills of a contortionist to manage all the crises in his life: two murder cases, his long-time partner Bill Hanrahan's impulsive decision to marry his sweetheart, Iris Chen, immediately (reception chez Lieberman), pressures from his synagogue fund-raising committee and preparations for his grandson's bar mitzvah, which Lieberman must bankroll. Meanwhile, his cholesterol is up and the roof needs repairs. With the skill of a master juggler, the author keeps all the parts of his story moving, alternating Lieberman's personal problems with the search for two inept hold-up men, one the accidental killer of forlorn merchant Arnold Sokol. Kaminsky traces the circuitous but inevitable downfall of Michael Wychovski, the smarter of the two thieves, as he tries to evade his pursuers after the death of Pryor, a dumbbell sidekick who might have stepped out of a Donald Westlake or Elmore Leonard novel. The cases collide when Pryor's body washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan next to Sokol's. Although Kaminsky can plot with the best of them, his characters are the real delights of the book, as is the comfortable, symbiotic relationship between Hanrahan and Lieberman. Rostnikov and Lew Fonseca series.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Eminently diverting police procedural June 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The series about veteran Chicago cop Abe Lieberman is the least known of the at least four mystery series being written by the prolific and consistent Mr Kaminsky and this is a pity for they are always diverting and at times touch deeper wells than is often the case with the genre .I suspect there is much of the author in the Lieberman figure -Abe is a well wrought character whose job has exposed him to the seamier side of life in general and Chicago in particular but has not eroded his compassion and sympathy for the victims ,who often include his fellow law enforecement professionals .
Here Abe is working on two cases -a robbery of a jewellery store and the death of its proprietor during the hold up ; and the murder of a Arnold Sokol which may well be gang related .These crimes in turn lead on to other deaths
The criminals are accorded almost as much time as the cops and the portrait of the robber Wychovski in particular is a mini-masterpiece of economicallly but crisply drawen characterisation while the ethnic divisions of the city are unfussily and powerfully established
Abe is a family man and time devoted to this aspect of his situation is for me a partial problem as I struggled with some of the Jewish background to the discussions but its a minor problem (others will not see it as such )
Compassionate , humane and a quick read which unlike many such does not insult the intelligence or detarct from its having some sharp points to make
To those new to the series I suggest starting with an earlier title , maybe Lieberman's Choice
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I wrote a long review of The Big Silence---most of what was said there is relevant here. The mystery plots are top notch. The characters are rivalled only by R. Hill's Pascoe-Dalzeil charcters, but Kaminsky is less playful, intent on entertaining, but even more concerned that if you want to spend the time you can learn about the details and textures of life that matter (and inevitably illuminate you and your life). Read his novels, particularly, the Russian novels and Lieberman novels and spend some time with an author who is surely the Doestesfeski (sp) of mystery novels--don't be fooled by the ease of reading--in fact slow down and reflect on all the impt themes of life that Kaminsky presents for your consideration. ONly complaint: Abe is just too "sharp," knows too may people, makes too few mistakes---write at least one more Lieberman novel and give him a couple of deep flaws that will blend bumpily, but smoothly with Abe's skilled detective and people problems-- he needs a touch of larceny to penetrate his soul, create conflict and perhaps bring him down a peg or two (ala his partner, his boss Kearney, his daughter). Too good,sometimes grating. Still a GREAT READ. Also, try Midnight Pass (Fonesca novel) for another genre consumeing, genre transforming, genre transcending novel with the imperfect main character we need in our crime fiction.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Easy March 6 2003
Format:Hardcover
Yes, this is a "fast and easy" read, but that is not a negative
comment. Author Kaminsky has the ability to create and project
characters of vastly different sensibilities and backgrounds, and
he always writes stories that move quickly and with ease.
Det. Abe Lieberman is an old-time Chicago cop who has almost
seen too much crime and too many characters, but he is determined to stay on the job and do his best to see that justice
is done. Even when doing justice means doing business with
some felons while pursuing others.
Here, a robbery gone terribly wrong, when a low-level criminal
of marginal ability trips and shoots a cooperating merchant,
leads Lieberman and his Irish partner into a series of false
confessions, low-lifes at each others throats, and sad commentaries on marriage and relationshiips.
We also get to learn a little more about Jewish traditions than
many readers will enjoy, but these heros are likeable people
who do good, and they keep working on their professional duties
while handling personal difficulties.
Although this is a fast and easy read, it is also enjoyable and
fun.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed McBain, move over! Jan. 20 2003
Format:Hardcover
From its jarring opening at the scene of a robbery gone bad to the sad, clever twist at the end, Edgar-winner Kaminsky keeps the reader hooked with wry characterizations, dilemma-fed action and a well-organized plot. A man of earthy decency with a face like an old bloodhound and a quiet persistence to match, Chicago detective Abe Lieberman manages to stint neither his family nor his job as he starts his day with the confession of a would-be killer and moves on into the week with two murders to solve and a bar-mitzvah and a roof to pay for while his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan, defies a Chinese tong leader to marry the woman he loves. Point of view shifts among the very bad day of a jewel thief on the run, Hanrahan, some middle-class punk kids mixed up in murder and Lieberman himself. An insomniac with high cholesterol and a love of good Jewish food, Lieberman maintains his good humored resignation to the things he cannot change while occasionally dispensing his own generous justice.
Kaminsky's deadpan rythmn is reminiscent of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels, while his dark humor, morally centered plots, economical, observant prose and dogged, amiable hero set the series apart.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed McBain, move over! Jan. 20 2003
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
From its jarring opening at the scene of a robbery gone bad to the sad, clever twist at the end, Edgar-winner Kaminsky keeps the reader hooked with wry characterizations, dilemma-fed action and a well-organized plot. A man of earthy decency with a face like an old bloodhound and a quiet persistence to match, Chicago detective Abe Lieberman manages to stint neither his family nor his job as he starts his day with the confession of a would-be killer and moves on into the week with two murders to solve and a bar-mitzvah and a roof to pay for while his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan, defies a Chinese tong leader to marry the woman he loves. Point of view shifts among the very bad day of a jewel thief on the run, Hanrahan, some middle-class punk kids mixed up in murder and Lieberman himself. An insomniac with high cholesterol and a love of good Jewish food, Lieberman maintains his good humored resignation to the things he cannot change while occasionally dispensing his own generous justice.
Kaminsky's deadpan rythmn is reminiscent of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels, while his dark humor, morally centered plots, economical, observant prose and dogged, amiable hero set the series apart.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Up to Previous Volumes in the Series Oct. 31 2006
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Once again we get involved more with the personal lives of the Rabbi (Abe Lieberman) and Father Murphy (Bill Hanrahan). Abe is busy worrying about his cholesterol (and the diet that Bess has him on) and the cost of the Bar Mitzvah of his grandson Barry. Bill is getting ready to marry Iris even though both her father and the local chinese mafia don (Mr. Woo) would rather they waited.

The series is starting to show Kaminsky's lack of concentration when he finds he has to repeat some stories in every book whether it has to do with Hanrahan's drink and divorce or Abe's daughter's problems with her ex or her children. The books are down to the level of two hour telemovies on Lifetime.

The quality of the stories and the involvements of the mysteries or police procedures are on the level of CSI, which is another series he is working on but without the glamour. He has mentioned mulitple times, in the last two books, how tired Abe is because of his insomnia...but it seems that Kaminsky is writing these books in his sleep. He would be better off letting Abe retire and resurrect the Rostnikov series with Porfiry's son (Josef) and his girlfriend (Elena Timofeyeva).
4.0 out of 5 stars Eminently diverting police procedural June 12 2004
By F. J. Harvey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The series about veteran Chicago cop Abe Lieberman is the least known of the at least four mystery series being written by the prolific and consistent Mr Kaminsky and this is a pity for they are always diverting and at times touch deeper wells than is often the case with the genre .I suspect there is much of the author in the Lieberman figure -Abe is a well wrought character whose job has exposed him to the seamier side of life in general and Chicago in particular but has not eroded his compassion and sympathy for the victims ,who often include his fellow law enforecement professionals .
Here Abe is working on two cases -a robbery of a jewellery store and the death of its proprietor during the hold up ; and the murder of a Arnold Sokol which may well be gang related .These crimes in turn lead on to other deaths
The criminals are accorded almost as much time as the cops and the portrait of the robber Wychovski in particular is a mini-masterpiece of economicallly but crisply drawen characterisation while the ethnic divisions of the city are unfussily and powerfully established
Abe is a family man and time devoted to this aspect of his situation is for me a partial problem as I struggled with some of the Jewish background to the discussions but its a minor problem (others will not see it as such )
Compassionate , humane and a quick read which unlike many such does not insult the intelligence or detarct from its having some sharp points to make
To those new to the series I suggest starting with an earlier title , maybe Lieberman's Choice
5.0 out of 5 stars Lieberman is a star! April 10 2013
By Tim McGuire - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A friend tipped me to the Abe leiberman series and it was a genuine gift. This one is outstanding. the characters are genuine and the mystery is always good.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Easy March 6 2003
By bill runyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Yes, this is a "fast and easy" read, but that is not a negative
comment. Author Kaminsky has the ability to create and project
characters of vastly different sensibilities and backgrounds, and
he always writes stories that move quickly and with ease.
Det. Abe Lieberman is an old-time Chicago cop who has almost
seen too much crime and too many characters, but he is determined to stay on the job and do his best to see that justice
is done. Even when doing justice means doing business with
some felons while pursuing others.
Here, a robbery gone terribly wrong, when a low-level criminal
of marginal ability trips and shoots a cooperating merchant,
leads Lieberman and his Irish partner into a series of false
confessions, low-lifes at each others throats, and sad commentaries on marriage and relationshiips.
We also get to learn a little more about Jewish traditions than
many readers will enjoy, but these heros are likeable people
who do good, and they keep working on their professional duties
while handling personal difficulties.
Although this is a fast and easy read, it is also enjoyable and
fun.
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