RICHARD ROSEN – World of Hurt. Harvey Blissberg #4. Walker, hardcover, 1994. No paperback edition.

   Rosen is currently a writer/producer for Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, has appeared on netwrork TV and National Public Radio, and is credited with inventing the word “psychobabble.” This is the first Harvey Blissberg from him since 1988, and he’s switched from Viking Penguin to Walker. Have you noticed how many male writers are moving down the publishing scale, or losing their contracts entirely? Is it time for Dudes in Crime (DiC, acronymically speaking) to become a reality?

   Harvey Blissberg, an ex-major league baseball player now a PI, gets a call from his brother in a Chicago suburb. A casual friend who played picjup basketball with him regularly has been murdered, and the local police seem to have come to a dead end.

   The brother wants Harvey to come out from Cambridge and see what he can find out. Harvey, going through a bad patch with his long-time lover, more or less reluctantly accedes and soon finds himself trying to put together pieces of the life of a man nobody really seemed to know.

   I had forgotten how competent Rosen is. I don’t think he’s at the top of his group, but he’s a smoothly professional writer, and has created a very likeable character in Harvey Bloomberg. His prose is clean and straightforward, and he tells his story will through third-person narration.

   I think his strong point is characterization, and Blissberg and his lover have considerable depth. There were a couple of spots in the book that bothered me; one turned out to be fleeting and inconsequential, but the other was an unlikely coincidence on which the story hinged.

    Overall, though, it was a good solid PI novel — and I haven’t read too damned many of those, lately.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #15, September 1994.

      The Harvey Blissberg series

Strike Three You’re Dead (1984)     [Edgar-winner for Best First Novel.]

Fadeaway (1986)
Saturday Night Dead (1988)
World Of Hurt (1994)
Dead Ball (2001)