Detective Matthew Longo has shut himself in his apartment to recover from being shot in the line of duty. Drifting in and out of his private hell of anxiety, fear and depression, he relives memories of milestones in his career, the crimes he has investigated and how Donny Mello, his entrusted partner showed him the ropes. When Longo is finally able to return get back to his life, FBI Agent Cynthia Shyler approaches him with startling evidence pinpointing who shot him.
Author Marc A. Di Giacomo persuasively reveals the multifaceted emotions in the life of a young police officer – bringing out the hopeful and uplifting side that comes with naiveté and newness and so often turns into a darker and more cynical look at life and the people around him. Di Giacomo also conveys the themes of honor greed, corruption and the double-edged sword of close-knit ties within a family, community and the mob.
IN A SMALL TOWN effectively reveals the grittiness of police life, conveying a special ability to separate the experiences on the job with personal emotions for the most part, that allows the policemen to do their job without falling apart – for example, when Longo exchanges phone numbers of girls with another cop while standing over the corpse of an old woman who has died on the toilet. But, equally powerful are the moments when Longo and his co workers are unable to separate themselves from the crimes they see – and are driven to fight crime their own way.
Di Giacomo’s writing is crisp and clear and the storyline is fast moving. Longo’s character is well developed and credible, as are most of the other characters. His journey from a bright-eyed, naïve newly appointed police officer to a seasoned officer is unraveled with care to create suspense but also a bittersweet element to the story. In addition to showing the seedy aspect in some sexual episodes, the narrative effectively captures Matt’s various states of consciousness, and the adrenalin rush of the police calls. The dialogue credibly evokes police ‘lingo’ and also brings out the closeness between Longo and his brother as they banter and insult one another.
Though some of the transitions and the change of perspective are rough and distracting, and the love story element a little unnatural, the grittiness, the precariousness of life and the suspense is deftly maintained.
A powerful, insightful and moving glimpse into the life of a good cop trying to keep crime from taking over the streets and the police force in a small town.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader