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Chris High reviews 'Fresh Kills' on


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Chris High reviews Reggie Nadeslon


Reggie Nadelson

Publisher: William Heinemann
ISBN: 0-434-01190-8
June 1st, 2006

Front cover of the book by Reggie Nadelson - Fresh Kills

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As dark, malevolent and well plotted as anybody could wish for, Reggie Nadelson’s new Artie Cohen novel, Fresh Kills, is an intricate portrayal of the human psyche that eventually takes a hold and refuses to let go.

With his wife Maxine out of town, Artie Cohen is alone in Manhattan when his nephew Billy Farone is released for a couple of weeks from the young offenders’ institution where he has been since he stabbed Heshey Shank to death. Artie is the one Billy wants to come home to, the only person Billy cares about, the man Billy wants to be.


Now a handsome, intelligent and funny boy of fourteen, Billy seems cured and free of whatever it was - sickness, evil - that made him kill Shank. Artie wants desperately to believe that Billy is OK. But from the moment a small plane crashes on to the beach at Coney Island, bombs go off in London, and New York is shaken out of the sense that the bad times are over. There are signs that Heshey Shank's family want Billy locked up for good and Billy's mother doesn't want him coming home at all. Then bodies begin to appear and Artie, up against a brick wall of his own hope and despair, doesn't know what or whom to believe.

Perseverance is the key to this novel. After an initial slow start in which the situation Artie and Billy find themselves is explained to the max, the plot kicks in with monumental gusto that will keep the reader enthralled.

Tight dialogue, distinctive descriptions and an atmosphere as dark as a cellar, this is a novel that is both as moving as it is unsettling in as much as it makes the reader ask questions about their own morality. Questions, it transpires, that are often too difficult to answer fully. For this, if for nothing else, Reggie Nadelson should be lauded and praised and her novel read as a fresh portrayal of life as it happens on the other side of the criminal fence.

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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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