Friday, May 16, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Dialogues of a Crime by John K. Manos

Title: Dialogues of a Crime
Author: John K. Manos
Genre: Adult Crime Fiction
Publisher: Amika Press
Release Date: 2013
Acquired:  E-copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD


1972. The Chicago Mob stands unchallenged, and college students with drugs provide fodder for political point-making. Michael Pollitz, a nineteen-year-old with connections to the Outfit, becomes one of those political pawns.

1994. Job-weary CPD Detective Larry Klinger becomes obsessed with a cold case from that pivotal moment twenty-two years ago. In the course of his investigation, he encounters questions of ethics, guilt, and justice that make him doubt certainties that have sustained him for decades.

Dialogues of a Crime examines guilt, innocence and the long-term ramifications of crime and punishment in a gray area where the personal lives of perpetrators, victims and law officers overlap.


I'm not exactly sure what defines "best" for Kirkus Reviews, but I'm kind of wishing that the first line of this book's synopsis didn't include that little tidbit-it's quite misleading. Personally, I would not deem Dialogues of a Crime one of the "best" books I've ever read, I'm more in the "it was okay" camp. Then again, mob related fiction OR movies have never really been my thing. I am completely biased here, as usual.

Michael/the young man has been accused of participating in a felonious act: assisting in the sale of narcotics. He's been dragged from his dorm bed, and hauled down to the police station. After much disbelief, and coming to terms with reality, Michael realizes that he's in a lot more trouble than he thought. He has two options for defense: 1) an attorney provided by his college, or 2) an expensive lawyer, care of his best friend's mobster father, Dominick Calabria. He goes with the former, at his father's prideful wishes, and ends up spending a stint in jail. While in there, the inevitable occurs: Mike is assaulted, and permanently scarred. Skip ahead to 1997, Detective Larry Klinger is exploring a long forgotten case, and inadvertently wanders into Michael's current orbit. Michael is now an advertising exec, and a keeper of secrets. What is the ultimate price for fierce loyalty? It becomes a battle of justice, with trust and betrayal as the key players.

I had a problem with the narrative, right off the bat. There was a clash of tones, one pulling me in the direction of intensity, and urgency, while the other had me questioning the seriousness of the situations being portrayed. WHY was this mob "family" so hell bent on helping Mike? I severely felt the lack of back story when it came to that relationship. There was just too much dialogue, too soon. Getting a solid grip on characters was my second qualm. Michael was constantly being referred to as both Michael, one second, and then "the young man," the next. The majority of the mob characters also had nicknames, and it got confusing, very fast, when trying to figure out who was who. By the time the second half of the book began, I was more confident about their identities, but I just felt like that could have been handled better to begin with.

I've come to expect the topic of abuse to accompany a story line involving jail time, especially in a correctional facility for males. I just wish this one didn't handpick that exact route; that the catalyst for the remainder of the book's events wasn't a stereotypical jailhouse sexual assault, and beat down.

However, aside from not enjoying the plot line immensely, the messages in Dialogues of a Crime ran deep, and intricate. John Manos' writing was no hold's barred, to the point, and witty. It kept the the story flowing, and helped cement my attachment to Mike. His emotions, reactions, and life choices were made believable, and I couldn't help but root for him, even if the conclusion had me questioning his motives. I liked the use of a gap in time, the way parts of the future reached back to enlist the help of truths from the past. It was this collision of facts, or lies, that added depth to the story, and propelled it forward. The dynamic of Michael and Larry's relationship was hard to make sense of, but it was interesting to watch play out.

Overall, Dialogues of a Crime was an ambiguous crime mystery, with a real intention to highlight the bonds between people; between family, between friends, and among those we fiercely claim our loyalty to.

Recommended for fans of: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Controversial Issues.



John K. Manos was a magazine editor in Chicago for 20 years. Since 2001 he has earned his living as a writer, editor, and occasional musician. He is a graduate of Knox College. Dialogues of a Crime is his first novel.

Contact Links


Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Amika Press for sending me an e-copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


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