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The Big Silence: An Abe Lieberman Mystery [Mass Market Paperback]

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

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Book Description

Nov. 19 2001 Abe Lieberman Mysteries (Book 6)
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 and 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 metered out.

The Big Silence takes Lieberman and his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan-the Rabbi and the Priest, as they are known on the streets-on a journey that will test their consciences to the limit. When the young son of an informant in a governmental witness protection program is kidnapped and a grisly death occurs, they will have to make some hard choices to make things right. Told with compassion and with the keen insight into the human psyche, The Big Silence is gritty, compelling...and unforgettable.

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From Amazon

Veteran Chicago detective Abe Lieberman has things on his mind. His daughter's in from L.A., having left her husband. In addition, a small-time Korean gangster who lost his livelihood thanks to Abe has come to kill him--again.
"You come near here again, you're dead. I think it's better to be alive than dead, but you make up your own mind."

"I can go?" Kim asked warily.

"I wish you would. I've got an important phone call to make."

Kim rose, confused. "You won't even arrest me?"

"No."

Lieberman's foot was driving him crazy. He had to scratch it, and he did.

"So, more dishonor from the Jew devil," Kim said.

"You get your dialogue from very bad Hong Kong movies," Lieberman said. "You need a slightly higher grade of culture. You ever see Mildred Pierce?"

Bill Hanrahan, a pro lineman would-have-been thanks to bad knees, is Abe's longtime partner (cops call them the Rabbi and the Priest) and he, too, has issues. A softball assignment guarding the ex-wife and son of mob-accountant-about-to-sing Mickey Gornitz has just gone south; the woman's been murdered and the boy snatched. It's not the first time a woman's been killed while in Hanrahan's care, although it is the first since he's been sober. The kidnapper's demand to Gornitz--an unwelcome confidant of Abe's--is simple: kill yourself and the boy lives. An untenable situation for all, the resolution of which plumbs the vagaries of philosophy and morality.

Kaminsky has as sure a hand (from character development and dialogue to plot and pacing) as you'll find in any police procedural, and he's got more successful series running than many authors have successful novels. To the wonderful Lieberman series, add his contemporary Russian detective, Porfiry Rostnikov (star of 2000's Fall of a Cosmonaut); his 1940s Hollywood PI, Toby Peters (1991's Poor Butterfly), and his newest, Sarasota process server-cum-people locator, Lew Fonesca (1999's Vengeance). Do yourself a favor and read them all. --Michael Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Versatile, prolific and reliable, Kaminsky seldom disappoints, whether spinning a tale about his Russian policeman (Porfiry Rostnikov), private eye to the stars (Toby Peters) or Chicago policeman Abe Lieberman. Here Lieberman and his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan, known to colleagues as "the Rabbi and the Priest," have to handle an onslaught of personal and professional crises. Hanrahan, a former football lineman who missed out on a pro career because of bad knees, is nearly suicidal over a blown assignment that resulted in a kidnapping and murder. Lieberman, a slight, 60ish career policeman, juggles a pair of bothersome cases and a pair of family crises on top of shouldering some of Hanrahan's burden as a partner should. Drawing on Chicago's cultural diversity, Kaminsky enriches the story with a range of Jewish, Irish-Catholic, Korean, African-American, Hispanic and other ethnic characters. In his world-weary, wise and compassionate way, Lieberman uses every tool at his command, from common sense to favors traded as readily with a gang leader as with another cop. Crimes are not so much solved as resolved. And the partnerships Lieberman has forged with his compatriotsDbe they relatives, police officers, suspects or citizensDmake the resolutions and the process of achieving them a joy to follow. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful book! Virtually every character, small in part or large, transmits that evanescent hint of reality--reality soaked with love, hate, unsavory trade-offs between criminals and cops, between cops and cops (Our televison cops that give most Americans their conception of the police is unrealistically and inordinately distorted--towards the positive, which for us as viewers means cops that are really, really tough with the subtlety of an 100-mile hurricane ripping through a small town. In Law and Order, aren't most criminals one-diminsional, even if depicted favorably, usually when one of the cops or attys falls in love with one of the baddoes. Kaminsky says, "These men are cops; we depend on them, but they are very imperfect, very willing to deal with ruthless, even sadistic criminals, to make the concession that should result in the greater legal and justice good. But putting El Perro's men back on the street is really better than a sharpie who cozens old people. Anyway, Lieberman's novels have improved (the first is the worst and can profitably be skipped, "Lieberman's Folly": but try to read the rest in sequence. Although the plots are fairly discrete, the characters reoccur and we learn more and more about them as we proceed through the books in this series. The characters speak to the heart, mind and imagination that reaches Keatsian goals (if not his genius). Read more ›
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By K. Corn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love every single book in the Lieberman series but this one is a particular favorite. As always, Lieberman is both worldly wise and all too human, with weaknesses that make him just that more believable and strangely lovable as well.
This time around, Lieberman and his associate, Hanrahan, are trying to guard the ex-wife and son of a mob informant while juggling the daily frustrations of their own lives. While the mystery will keep your attention, what is equally wonderful, to my mind, are Lieberman and Hanrahan, two guys who jump from the pages in vivid detail. Kaminsky is a wonderful writer and I hope more than mystery buffs discover him. He deserves the attention!
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel Dec 31 2000
Format:Hardcover
Dark, yet humorous. The entire Lieberman series is fantastic (I've read them all) but this one is the best. The plots are complex yet they move at breakneck speed. You really get involved in the characters and their lives. This cop series focuses on the minds and lives of the police, rather than focusing on the criminals. This series is tops. The only other writers that come close are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and S.J. Rozan.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Good police procedural Nov. 11 2000
By Harriet Klausner TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Chicago police officers Abe Lieberman and Bill Hanrahan are partners affectionately dubbed by their peers as the "Rabbi and the Priest". Their latest case involves mob accountant Mickey Gornitz willing to testify against his boss if certain conditions are met. Mickey insists he will only talk with Abe, who was a high school classmate several decades ago. Mickey also demands that his ex-wife and teenage son receive full protection though he has not seem either of them in fifteen years until the informer disappears into the witness protection program. Reluctantly, the Cook County District Attorney's Office agrees.
However, almost immediately after the moment that the Boston cop handed over the former wife and son to Bill, thugs kidnap the duo. When the abduction includes murder, Bill blames himself and not the brass who thought the wife and kid were low priority. As Abe works on a couple of cases and some personal shtick, he tries to help his partner deal with a severe case of depression caused by deep feelings of guilt.
The Abe Lieberman police procedural series is constantly one of the best the sub-genre has to offer. The current tale, THE BIG SILENCE, is an intriguing look at Chicago, various ethnic groups, and relationships. The police investigation is engaging because no great revelation occurs, just hard work. Stuart M. Kaminsky other sleuths (see Rostnikov and Peters) are very good and deserve fan accolades, but clearly neither one holds a candle to the Lieberman books.

Harriet Klausner
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good police procedural Nov. 11 2000
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Chicago police officers Abe Lieberman and Bill Hanrahan are partners affectionately dubbed by their peers as the "Rabbi and the Priest". Their latest case involves mob accountant Mickey Gornitz willing to testify against his boss if certain conditions are met. Mickey insists he will only talk with Abe, who was a high school classmate several decades ago. Mickey also demands that his ex-wife and teenage son receive full protection though he has not seem either of them in fifteen years until the informer disappears into the witness protection program. Reluctantly, the Cook County District Attorney's Office agrees.
However, almost immediately after the moment that the Boston cop handed over the former wife and son to Bill, thugs kidnap the duo. When the abduction includes murder, Bill blames himself and not the brass who thought the wife and kid were low priority. As Abe works on a couple of cases and some personal shtick, he tries to help his partner deal with a severe case of depression caused by deep feelings of guilt.
The Abe Lieberman police procedural series is constantly one of the best the sub-genre has to offer. The current tale, THE BIG SILENCE, is an intriguing look at Chicago, various ethnic groups, and relationships. The police investigation is engaging because no great revelation occurs, just hard work. Stuart M. Kaminsky other sleuths (see Rostnikov and Peters) are very good and deserve fan accolades, but clearly neither one holds a candle to the Lieberman books.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lieberman's tales just become deeper and r icher and better! April 15 2004
By J. Clemons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful book! Virtually every character, small in part or large, transmits that evanescent hint of reality--reality soaked with love, hate, unsavory trade-offs between criminals and cops, between cops and cops (Our televison cops that give most Americans their conception of the police is unrealistically and inordinately distorted--towards the positive, which for us as viewers means cops that are really, really tough with the subtlety of an 100-mile hurricane ripping through a small town. In Law and Order, aren't most criminals one-diminsional, even if depicted favorably, usually when one of the cops or attys falls in love with one of the baddoes. Kaminsky says, "These men are cops; we depend on them, but they are very imperfect, very willing to deal with ruthless, even sadistic criminals, to make the concession that should result in the greater legal and justice good. But putting El Perro's men back on the street is really better than a sharpie who cozens old people. Anyway, Lieberman's novels have improved (the first is the worst and can profitably be skipped, "Lieberman's Folly": but try to read the rest in sequence. Although the plots are fairly discrete, the characters reoccur and we learn more and more about them as we proceed through the books in this series. The characters speak to the heart, mind and imagination that reaches Keatsian goals (if not his genius). This novel has a few main plots--one focussing on Lieberman's partner, his drinking problems, his difficulty in marrying a beautiful Chinese woman (He's big Irish, all the way); another plot strand focusses on Lieberman's difficult daughter, who has basically abandoned her children to Lieberman and his wife--she's remarried, lives in CA, and like so many of us has great difficulty living a life that is not based on depression, obsession with the "cold and analytical"; she blames Lieberman for her problems, but also realizes that his wisdom, his love may be her only chance for happiness (flickers of) and success in marriage with her new black husband. The honesty of the character interactions, their stances and relationships allows us to see characters not as such but as almost Shakespearean, universal, yet individuals that we can palpably touch and, at least partially, understand. This particular novel, of all of Kaminsky's many novels, from several series, sharply, richly, and genuinely etches real people (e.g. Gornitz, Phil Blitzein, Hanranahan, Kearney, Bess, the grandkids and on and on. This novel loves humanity by giving us people and stories, transcending mystery/suspense genre, but working effectively with its requisites, who help us think about life--its joys, its drama, its hypocrisy, its pettiness, and in the case of the dog--a stroke of authorial genious nonpareil--finding a ray of hope in the kindness of a detective, who looks like a weary, somewhat cranky dog (Lieberman), but lights up the lives of so many (sure he's too good to be true) but gives us readers hope that we might make a positive difference and that a life not beset with problems is really not a life at all. Lieberman's insonmia, his slightly acridly ironic humor, his incorrigible daughter and all those criminals, big and small, who make Lieberman's life a means for us to enrich our own. Great book. Also read Russian series and the three Fonesca novels--Kaminsky entertains inexorably, proses beautifully and brings the dectective novel up to a level that only Bill James and Michael Connelly can approximate. Not airline books (Patterson) but still easy to read, and easy to read twice. Read him
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lieberman, a character that lives beyond the page! Dec 19 2001
By K. Corn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love every single book in the Lieberman series but this one is a particular favorite. As always, Lieberman is both worldly wise and all too human, with weaknesses that make him just that more believable and strangely lovable as well.
This time around, Lieberman and his associate, Hanrahan, are trying to guard the ex-wife and son of a mob informant while juggling the daily frustrations of their own lives. While the mystery will keep your attention, what is equally wonderful, to my mind, are Lieberman and Hanrahan, two guys who jump from the pages in vivid detail. Kaminsky is a wonderful writer and I hope more than mystery buffs discover him. He deserves the attention!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel Dec 31 2000
By Steven W. Slesinger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dark, yet humorous. The entire Lieberman series is fantastic (I've read them all) but this one is the best. The plots are complex yet they move at breakneck speed. You really get involved in the characters and their lives. This cop series focuses on the minds and lives of the police, rather than focusing on the criminals. This series is tops. The only other writers that come close are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and S.J. Rozan.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once Again Kaminsky Gives Us a Good Story Oct. 16 2006
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Abe Lieberman is a thin, jewish, sixty year old police detective in Chicago; his wife is the president of his synagogue; his daughter, who is on her second marriage is married to a black pathologist and live in the bay area; his grandchildren (from his daughter's first marriage live with him). His partner is a big ex-football playing Irishman named William Hanrahan; who is divorced, a recovering alcoholic (as is his younger son), and is in love with an Asian woman he wants to marry. On the Chicago force they are known as the 'Rabbi and Father Murphy'.

The cases in this book are not of that much interest, but it is the inter- action of Lieberman and his partner with a myriad of characters from multiple cultures that make this a worthwhile read. Kaminsky is great at getting the nuances of speech and the causes behind the actions of his characters to be so honest and real. A worthy addition to the series.
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