Neptune Avenue

A Jack Leightner Crime Novel

By Gabriel Cohen
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312380618, 272pp.)

Publication Date: April 28, 2009

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“If we took it all personally,” Brooklyn South homicide detective Jack Leightner tells his rookie NYPD partner, “there’s no way we could do the job.”


Very soon, though, that notion gets shot to hell, as the deeply principled cop hears about the murder of an old Russian friend on Neptune Avenue---and then is disturbed to find himself increasingly drawn to the man’s stunning widow, Eugenia. She informs Jack of her husband’s troubles with Semyon Balakutis, a local nightclub operator and extortionist. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger in central Brooklyn is killing young women and posing them as suicides.


From the Russian emigré community of Brighton Beach to the racially charged neighborhood of Crown Heights, from the crimes of World War II to the harshness of his own father, Jack’s latest cases plunge him deep into the roots of why men act in anger---and into the eternal mystery of love.


Gabriel Cohen stuns in this riveting third addition to the Brooklyn-set series.

About the Author

Gabriel Cohen’s first novel, Red Hook, was a finalist for the Edgar award for Best First Novel, and he is also the author of the novels The Graving Dock and Boombox, as well as the nonfiction book Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky. He has written for The New York Times, Poets & Writers, The New York Post magazine, and other publications, and is now at work on a fourth Jack Leightner novel. He lives in Brooklyn.

Praise For Neptune Avenue

"Superb...An impeccable procedural plus a poignant love story, intelligent, understated and refreshing."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

A murdered friend, a beautiful widow and the borough of Brooklyn loom large in this superb installment from NYPD Detective Jack Leightner (The Graving Dock, 2007, etc.).
As he lay recovering from a bullet wound in the chest two years ago, Jack Leightner yearned to compare notes with the man in the next hospital bed, who also had a bullet wound in his chest. Unfortunately, Daniel Lelo, a Russian émigré, didn't like cops. To Daniel, all cops were cousins of the KGB, brutal and bent. Still, the victims' shared suffering broke down barriers, and soon enough a friendship developed. Now Jack stares down at a murder victim on a morgue slab, hoping hard that it's some other Daniel Lelo. When his hope dies, Jack's business suddenly becomes personal. Daniel, he soon learns, had enemies in his hardscrabble Brooklyn community. Semyon Balakutis, rumored to be with the Russian Mafia, is an especially intriguing specimen. Balakutis is the kind of thug who uses terror as a marketing tool, and he and

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