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Cover image for Bright futures : a Lew Fonesca mystery
Bright futures : a Lew Fonesca mystery
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 2009, ©2008.
Physical Description:
304 pages ; 22 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Lovable everyman Lew Fonesca, the man who makes things work in Sarasota, takes on the cases of seventeen-year-old Ronnie Graeill accused of bludgeoning to death a local curmudgeon who has been campaigning to end state-sponsored school funding and a semi-retired and much beloved singer of children's songs who is being blackmailed.


Call Number
MYS KAMINSKY Lew Fonseca #6

On Order



Lovable everyman Lew Fonesca, the man who makes things work in Sarasota, takes on the case of 17 year-old Ronnie Graeill accused of bludgeoning to death an eccentric wealthy politician whose most recent crusade was against a college financial-aid program.

Author Notes

Stuart M. Kaminsky is head of the radio/television/film department at Northwestern University in Illinois. He is also a writer of textbooks, screenplays, and mystery novels.

The more popular of his two series of detective novels features Toby Peters. Set in the 1930s and 1940s, the Peters books draw on Kaminsky's knowledge of history and love of film by incorporating characters from the film industry's past in nostalgic mysteries. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (1978), for example, features Judy Garland while Catch a Falling Clown (1982) stars Emmett Kelley as Peters's client and Alfred Hitchcock as a murder suspect.

His other critically acclaimed series chronicles the cases of Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov. Kaminsky's detailed studies of Russian police procedure combined with aspects of life in Russia have earned the Series an Edgar nomination for Black Knight in Red Square (1984) and the 1989 Edgar Award for A Cold Red Sunrise (1988).

Stuart Kaminsky was born in Chicago in 1934 and died in 2009.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of the superb sixth Lew Fonesca hard-boiled whodunit (after 2006's Always Say Goodbye) from MWA Grand Master Kaminsky, 17-year-old Greg Lagerman, a student at a school for the gifted, hires Fonesca, who's been working as a process server in Sarasota, Fla., since losing his wife to a hit-and-run driver in Chicago, to exonerate a friend, 17-year-old Ronnie Graell. Graell stands accused of bludgeoning to death an eccentric wealthy politician whose most recent crusade was against a college financial-aid program. Given that the bloodstained suspect was found next to the corpse, Fonesca has his work cut out for him. The gumshoe's initial probes soon place him in the crosshairs of an unknown assailant. Kaminsky provides enough twists and turns to keep most readers guessing, but the book's power comes from the compelling portrayal of Fonseca, who still suffers emotionally from his wife's death, but continues to strive to move forward. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

When an activist who opposes government financing of college scholarships and education programs for the gifted is murdered, there's no dearth of suspects. Change comes slowly to Lew Fonesca's world. The process server is still seeing therapist Ann Hurwitz, who makes him bring her biscotti, and social worker Sally Porovksy, though after four years they've never been intimate. He still never smiles, still mourns his wife Catherine's hit-and-run death back in Chicago, still allows the man who killed her to sleep on his office floor. But now he's moving to a new office and considering making his professional partnership with Ames McKinney official. And he has a new clutch of clientshigh-school student Greg Legerman, his mother Alana and his grandfather, retired TV infomercial king D. Elliot Corklewho all want to pay him to investigate the murder of anti-education crank Philip Horvecki, for which the Sarasota PD has Greg's friend Ronnie Gerall in custody. Lew's not much interested in the case, but someone else obviously is, someone who keeps shooting at Lew with a pellet gun and hitting the people around him. It's no surprise when Lew digs up dirt on the victim, the police suspect and his clients. What's much more surprising is the bombshell Sally drops on Lew, or his realization just after punching a suspect in the nose that he actually feels something. As deeply felt as Lew's first five cases (Always Say Goodbye, 2006, etc.), though the waggish cast seems to have wandered over from Kaminsky's Toby Peters franchise. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The important thing to know about Lew Fonesca, one of Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Kaminsky's series characters, is that he is a depressive detective who drove as far south as his car could make it four years ago, after his wife was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Chicago. Since arriving in Sarasota, Florida (five novels ago), Fonesca has worked as a process server specializing in finding people. Like all depressives, Fonesca is hard to get and keep going, a major flaw in the series. And he doesn't seek business it literally shows up on his doorstep, like his wife's killer who inexplicably now sleeps on his office floor. This latest episode centers on two high-school kids who ask Fonesca to look into the murder of a local rich guy; one of their friends has been charged. The plot, like Fonesca, works by fits and starts, with plenty of strained dialogue and odd characterization. For commited readers of the series only.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2008 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

A NOVEL can, and should, do many things, but a thriller need do only one. If it thrills, it succeeds, and if it does not, no matter how well it does everything else, it fails. Alex Berenson's third novel, "The Silent Man," succeeds in seizing the attention from the start and never letting go until the end. Like most thrillers, "The Silent Man" is more concerned with how and where than who or why. The tale involves the theft of Russian nuclear warheads to be detonated in Washington during the State of the Union address, in an effort to wipe out the government and possibly draw the United States into war with Medvedev's Russia. Berenson, a New York Times reporter, deftly describes the weapons heist, detailing with enjoyable precision the Russian security system and the ingenuity with which it is circumvented. His explanation of how the warheads will work has the feel of real science, simultaneously fascinating and mind-numbing. As we know from James Bond and Jack Bauer - that icon of the Cheney era - a thriller hero can be over the top, but he can never be silly without endangering the story's spell. Berenson's hero, John Wells, isn't quite silly, but he sometimes comes across as a media cliché instead of a character lifted from life or invented from whole cloth. As readers of Berenson's earlier thrillers will remember, Wells spent nearly a decade infiltrating Al Qaeda, even converting to Islam; then, with the help of his C.I.A. colleague (and fiancée) Jennifer Exley, he stopped a Qaeda attack on New York. "More recently he and Exley had helped avert war between the United States and China," Berenson writes in a bit of exposition that sounds like a "Previously on '24' . . ." voice-over. "The missions had saved untold lives." Of course, Wells is seen by the C.I.A. director as "arrogant, untouchable, a loose cannon." A loner and a rogue, he has the requisite cool scar but is "never more endearing" than when he's "acting like a big kid." He has responsibility issues with Exley, whose name leads to such unfortunate phrases as "Exley's exhusband." The comic book quality of all this is emphasized by Berenson's use of sound effects: "The pistol jerked twice in succession, crack-crack." The baddies here are mostly Middle Eastern, and their leader, Yusuf (whose "fingers were as weightless as the devil's"), has a touch of true evil about him. They are all motivated by a thirst to avenge various injustices perpetrated on their loved ones. One villain harbors doubts, however, creating a nice secondary level of suspense - will he betray his colleagues or himself? One of the pleasures of thrillers is that they often take you to distant locales. Occasionally, Berenson evokes a sense of place quite well, as in this description of the Moscow Metro: "The subway cars were Soviet-era, made of blue corrugated steel with big windows, and they emerged from the tunnels with a pressurized whoosh as if they were powered by air and not electricity." Too often, though, his descriptions are bland and featureless: "The city hall was a reminder of Hamburg's prosperity, a broad building with a clock tower at its center." And sometimes they shade into the unintentionally hilarious - the Black Sea is "a famously dank waterway"? Yet none of these drawbacks do much to slow the locomotive of the plot, which keeps hurtling along until Wells brings it to a neat and violent end. At his best, Berenson puts the genre through its paces; at his worst, he's just generic. Richard Lourie's most recent novel, "A Hatred for Tulips," has been issued in paperback as "Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank."

Library Journal Review

In this sixth and final entry in Edgar Award winner Kaminsky's Lew Fonesca series-following Always Say Goodbye, also available from Sound Library-the soft-boiled Sarasota, FL, detective must clear the name of a surly teenager accused of bludgeoning a wealthy eccentric. Series reader Michael -McConnohie captures Fonesca's sober masculinity, as well as the women, teens, and men who cross his path. McConnohie needs only to master the pronunciation of "Tamiami" to keep from shattering the mood for listeners familiar with the Sunshine State. Highly recommended for public library mystery collections. [Audio clip available through www.bbcaudiobooksamerica.com.-Ed.]-Judith Robinson, Dept. of Lib. & Information Studies, Univ. at Buffalo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.