“If you want to show someone what a great novel looks like – one that is at the intersection of great writing, great characters and a great story – then give them Late Rain.”
Corrine Tedros is a Lady Macbeth wannabe who sets in motion the murder of her uncle-in-law (a soft-drink mogul), and things go awry when the murder is witnessed by a senior citizen in the late stages of Alzheimers. Things are complicated by the fact that the daughter of the man with Alzheimers is involved with a former homicide detective who has resigned and moved South in an attempt to reshape and simplify his life; on his own, Decovic starts to make connections in the case that cause Corrine Tedros to up the ante in keeping herself out of the murder investigation.
A book about desire and need and the fear that drives how far the characters are willing to go to find what they want.
“Corrine Tedros decides her elderly uncle-in-law, Stanley, is standing in her way when he refuses to sell his successful South Carolina company to the highest bidder, so through a shady lawyer, she hires a killer to take care of the problem. Jack Carson, a man suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, witnesses the murder but can’t describe the killer. Meanwhile, Ben Decovic, formerly a homicide detective in Ryland, Ohio, is now a patrolman for the Magnolia Beach Police Department in South Carolina, where he is attempting to recover from a personal tragedy. Although Corrine has made sure she has an alibi, Decovic is suspicious of her reactions and delves into her past, which she has gone to great lengths to conceal. Then Decovic becomes romantically involved with Jack’s daughter, Anne, and events begin to spiral out of control. Kostoff, author of the well-received The Long Fall (2003), returns to crime fiction with what a promising series debut starring a principled cop who is beginning to heal himself.”
“It’s safe to lump Lynn Kostoff in with Pinckney Benedict and Madison Smartt Bell, which is to say he is a very talented writer who no one will read because they are too busy telling all their friends on Facebook how funny last night’s episode of the hit sitcom “Two Bikini Models and an Adorable Puppy” was. This state of affairs does not fill my heart with hope.”
“Masterful writing, spot on dialogue and insight to the human condition more often associated with literary works than crime fiction, Lynn Kostoff’s Late Rain is one of those rare novels that transcend genre fiction; it is writing at its very best, brilliant from start to finish.”
—Charlie Stella author of Johnny Porno
“It reminds me a little of the work of Elmore Leonard, only it’s more tightly plotted. This is an excellent novel that makes me eager to read Kostoff’s earlier books.”
“The plot is rich and thick and the subplots connect in ways I wasn’t expecting. There are at least two subplots that are so beautifully understated, my jaw dropped when I finally caught on. If I did. . . I think I did. . .”
“If you want to show someone what a great novel looks like – one that is at the intersection of great writing, great characters and a great story – then give them Late Rain. To echo a sentiment that I made last year about Dan Chaon’s Await Your Reply novels like Late Rainare the reason that the novel exists as an art form.
Everyone who reads a Lynn Kostoff book this year feels like they just woke up, and after rubbing their eyes they can finally see clearly. This, right here, is the time to catch up with authors like Jim Nisbet and Lynn Kostoff.
Kostoff plumbs the depths of his characters more thoroughly than most other writers bar genre. Complex, heartfelt, multi-faceted characters that don’t fall into simple designations of good or bad or love or hate but instead breathe with a vibrancy that hurts. Every character in Late Rain is full and complete and could support fully their own narrative. It’s a quality that is shared with The Wire, that even the smallest of characters is its own universe of possibility.
When a reader comes to a conclusion about and passes judgment on a character the character stops developing at that point. The best writers find a way to postpone the readers judgment for as long as possible by muddying the waters – make it more complicated, offer differing points of view, create more facets. By uncovering these hidden depths and brushing back the layers by working multiple ideas in to the narrative we arrive at something more complex, something that demands our attention, something that is, dare I say, great. Lynn Kostoff’s fiction takes the EM Forster quote — “Incident springs out of character; and having occurred, it alters that character.” – and brings it to vibrant life.
The writing on display here is virtuosic. Kostoff takes us into the minds of a man with Alzheimer’s and another man who suffers from some sort of dissociative disorders (or autism as Jed Ayres suggests) and in the process gives us a masters class on what it means to show not tell and the inherent power when done right.
All of the characters in Late Rain represent in varying degrees explorations of the books two major themes, memory and loss, with the total synthesis of these themes taking place in Jack, the man with Alzheimer’s. There is a chapter, near the end of the book, with Jack slipping down the slope of his memory that is one of the most tragic things I have ever read. In Jack, Kostoff has created a character for the ages.
If I were to use only three words to describe Late Rain by Lynn Kostoff they would be – Tour De Force. Yes, it’s really that good. This is an amazing book and you should take this opportunity to read Late Rain and even the recently re-issued A Choice of Nightmares. Lynn Kostoff will become your new favorite author.”