After having gone through almost every Rostnikov mystery with great joy, I was eagerly anticipating Kaminsky's new main protaganist, Lew Fonesca. But unfortunately I was disappointed. The characters just weren't that interesting to me, particularly Fonesca. I guess it's because I could identify more with Rostnikov - a sincere guy trying to do the best for himself, his family, and his fellow man. Fonesca, for whatever reason, seems aimless. Rostnikov was also grappling with "the system" whereas Fonesca had essentially dropped out. These observations are applicable to most of the characters in both stories. The plot, though interesting and entertaining, was dominated by the personalities. And the intricacies and resolution of the plot came too late to have a major effect on how I responded to the book.
and it is difficult not to like him. I'm a fan of Kaminsky's Abe Lieberman series, but I like Lew even better. Picture someone in midlife who drifts to Florida when his wife dies; and puts together a very simplistic lifestyle in one of Florida's wealthiest communities. You get a great look at Sarasota from the back of a Dairy Queen! You get a hero with a real sense of humor and a knack with people who is masquerading as a process server. You get a strong set of supporting characters, particularly in Flo, Sally, Ames and the fascinating Harvey, a computer research maven and Dr. Ann Horowitz, Lew's elderly psychiatrist. In "Vengeance", the first time we get together with Lew (a Stanley Tucci lookalike), Kaminsky has woven together two different mysteries, one of which is exceedingly difficult to figure out. The characters are more carefully drawn and the romance is soft and believable. Fonesca is someone could very probably have met in your own lifetime, and his unassuming habits and thoughts are in sharp contrast to his quick wit and humor... A tidbit... "I'm gay, Mr. Fonesca. I told you." "Why do they call it gay? Most of the homosexuals I've known are smiling on the outside and depressed on the inside", I said. "Like you?" "There is a distinct similarity", I said, sinking back into the chair. A great and breezy read; makes you want Kaminsky to keep returning to Lew in the future!