Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dead and Buried by Howard Engel

I've always liked Benny Cooperman. He's not your run-of-the-mill Private Investigator. He likes things a certain way. I've never read anything about him punching anyone out. He'd rather avoid trouble, it seems.

But he's a bright guy who knows what's what and he can get to the bottom of a mystery. I guess if he couldn't, Engel wouldn't have written so many books about him.

Engel tackles toxic waste dumping in Dead and Buried. Not so much from a preachy point of view, but then, I'm guessing we're all pretty against it, so preaching would not do him much good. Cooperman is against it but doesn't like to think about the environment. It keeps him up at nights. The book was published in 1990, so I guess the writer could get away with a sentiment like that. I can't imagine a protagonist being accepted in this day and age if he had any opinion of the environment other than "We have to save it!"

In the end, surprise, surprise, it's the big corporation that's been doing the toxic dumping, and the big boss is behind it and the murders of some people who've been digging around. But never fear, Cooperman will save the day.

I don't know enough about how high society works or how big business works to know how realistic this novel is but it doesn't have to BE realistic, it just has to FEEL realistic. And it does. Good job, Engel.

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