By: John F. Rooney
Publisher: Senneff House Publishers
Publication Date: February 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 28, 2011
Author John F. Rooney's "Denny Delaney" series revolves around a detective who has faced many issues over time on the printed page. Having difficulties with alcohol, terrorism, and other oddities in his life and career, Denny Delaney has become one of the most celebrated cops by the populace, as well as the media in New York City. One of the most famous capers he foiled was the hunting down and killing - not once, but twice - of a horrific terrorist named Felix the Cat, who was scaring Denny’s beloved city to death.
Denny and his wife, Monica, are a wonderful, loving couple who spend a great deal of time at the multitude of theatres and restaurants that NYC has to offer. They see and discuss almost every Broadway play that has ever existed, and while Denny is out policing the City, Monica works at Smith Barney and also runs a very popular blog that discusses politics, entertainment, and current issues that the world is up against.
Denny works with the NYPD Grand Central Detail which was set up after 9/11. It is a special ops division that investigates things like art thefts, celebrities involved in crime, and pattern homicides - which are killings that follow a certain pattern that, in this case, thrusts Denny into the path of a serial killer.
When he and his partners - Rich Walters and Terry Kerrigan - are called to a hideous crime scene, they're left to investigate the life of a young man working as a hustler in the City, who has been left by the river with his hands crossed over his chest, and a wrapped condom in his mouth. Having seen all types of crimes and bodies, Denny is a little thrown that this particular crime is getting under his skin. The corpse reminds him of a serene body lying in a casket - the scene looks almost respectful, as if the killer is somehow mocking the dead. When Denny and his crew find out that this is not the first young man to die in this “pattern,” they have to face the fact that they definitely have a serial killer on their hands.
As the story delves into the dark world of hustlers and johns, Denny has to immerse himself in an education given by two members of the Special Crimes Unit. He finds out information on many famous people, like Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, who held court at various “seedy” locations during their lifetimes. Denny also meets with a writer now living in a nursing home, who possesses all the facts of the john/hustler world from the past. Unfortunately for Denny, he needs to learn far more about the present state of things, as he finds himself following a killer who is not only “sick and twisted,” but quite obviously has a point he wants to get across.
Using information from a mystery man by the name of Tim who calls the precinct and offers information to Denny, as well as getting help from his beloved father who is still praised as one of the best in the business, Denny finds himself in a dark, horrific world where young men are used, abused, and tossed away. Learning along the way that the label of “gay” still, to this day, spawns a type of prejudice that Denny will never understand.
Add to all this signs that are being spray-painted all over town that read, “Felix is Back,” and a vest-bomber who will talk to nobody but Denny regarding the next step the terrorist cells are about to take, and you have a plot that is “seeded” with a variety of issues.
Although the character of Denny Delaney is extremely interesting - a man with more issues, interests, and ideas than the entire population of NYC combined, his conversations become a little long at times which slows down the story. With a serial killer the plot should always be exciting and fast-paced, yet a ‘bad guy’s’ POV doesn’t even come into the story until page sixty-four, and the discussions about the world of hustling and johns “back in the day“ are repetitive (first with two officers, than with a writer, and so on). In essence, the real ‘star” of this novel is New York City. The wonderful scenes that completely celebrate the history, architecture, and life that makes this remarkable City one of the most impressive and exciting cities in the world, are a huge part of the novel, and will make the reader wish that they could hop a plane and join the action.
Quill Says: A well-written story that presents a “new” crime instead of the Law and Order-type books that are flooding the market but, in the end, this is more of a learning experience than a fast-paced serial killer novel.
For more information on Unprotected Love, please visit the publisher's website at: www.senneffouse.com