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A routine visit to one of Sam Acquillo's job sites becomes anything but. The home's owner, Victor Bollings, is lying in a pool of blood, the back of his head bashed in. One of Sam's closest friends in the cabinetry trade is quickly behind bars as the obvious suspect. For the cops, this is all standard operating procedure. But as it turns out, nothing about the case is routine, obvious or standard in any way.Sam and defense attorney Jackie Swaitkowski are used to an uneasy, though often reciprocal, relationship with law enforcement. But when the chief of police tells Sam to stay the hell away, this time he really means it. For Sam and Jackie, words like this are highly motivational, until strange new forces emerge from the shadows. Forces from well beyond the borders of Southampton, from worlds as sinister as they are unfathomable.That doesn't mean Sam and Jackie still don t have a job to do. And a responsibility to defend the utterly defenseless: a Colombian immigrant with no legal status, no political power and no alibi, with the full weight of the judicial system local, state, national and international arrayed against him.The eighth edition of the Sam Acquillo Mystery Series disrupts the illusion that the Hamptons are safely immune from the struggles that enflame much of the world. It s an examination of how fear of the unknown ignites prejudice and hate, overturning norms of decency and principle.For Sam and Jackie, it's also a lesson in the interconnectedness of evil.


Customers Reviews

The real world of Sam

4.0 out of 5.0 by John A on February 9, 2018
Chris Knopf spins another well-plotted who done it while subtley delving into the immigrant question. Beside his usual crew of eccentrics like Jackie and Burton, and some normal characters, Amanda among them, Sam has a day job with men he admires for their efficiency and skill. Some of his Latino co-workers arrived in the Hamptons with less than mandated documentation, but Sam doesn't judge. In many ways this book dispels some of the pre-packaged hypocrisy that the talking heads like to shovel at us.
Excellent entertainment.

5.0 out of 5.0 by discriminating reader on September 2, 2019
I really enjoyed this book, as I have enjoyed many others by Chris Knopf.His writing and plotting are always outstanding and a pleasure to read.
All Chris Knopf books are great! Wonderful characters

5.0 out of 5.0 by Amazon Customer on February 6, 2018
All Chris Knopf books are great! Wonderful characters, believable and laugh out loud dialogue and great locales. He is prolific, but never less than top rate! I wait for each new book.
Five Stars

5.0 out of 5.0 by Jorge Ramirez on July 6, 2018
interesting series
Always a great read!

5.0 out of 5.0 by Susan on December 9, 2018
As usual for Chris Knopf, a fully satisfying tale.
Read it and find out

5.0 out of 5.0 by mike powell on June 19, 2019
One of the best of the series
Tango Down

5.0 out of 5.0 by Gloria Feit on January 30, 2018
From the publisher: A routine visit to one of Sam Acquillo’s job sites becomes anything but. The home’s owner, Victor Bollings, is lying in a pool of blood, the back of his head bashed in. And one of Sam’s closest friends in the cabinetry trade is quickly behind bars, the obvious suspect. For the cops, this is all standard fare. But as it turns out, nothing about the case is routine, obvious, or standard in any way. Sam and defense attorney Jackie Swaitkowski are used to an uneasy, though often reciprocal, relationship with law enforcement. But when the chief of police tells Sam to stay the hell away, this time he really means it. For Sam and Jackie, words like this are highly motivational, until strange new forces enter the fray. Forces from well beyond the borders of Southampton, from worlds as sinister as they are unfathomable. That doesn’t mean Sam and Jackie still don’t have a job to do. And a responsibility to defend the utterly defenseless: a Colombian immigrant with no legal status, no political power, and no alibi. With the full weight of the judicial system - - local, state, national, and international - - arrayed against him. For Sam and Jackie, it’s also a lesson in the confluence of all evils. When the murder weapon is determined to be a gold club given to Ernesto Mazzotti by the dead man when the latter was giving Ernesto golf lessons, he becomes the only suspect, and is promptly arrested. It doesn’t help matters any when Ernesto’s criminal record becomes known, to wit: he had gotten off on a charge of assault and battery, “beat a guy to within an inch of his life,” a rich customer with whose wife Ernesto was involved.Jackie, now the defense attorney for Ernesto, convinces Sam to take the required test and get his private investigator’s license, thus enabling him to act officially as Jackie’s staff investigator who can act as her proxy. “Jackie had to declare that I’d been her assistant in investigations for at least three years. She hadn’t paid me, since it was usually hard to tell who was working for whom, but she knew a guy at the governing commission who gave us dispensation.” (Sam is told “If you think innocence is a criterion for defense attorneys taking a case, you don’t know much about how the law works.”” One more thing he can now add to his resume, which already included having been a professional boxer earlier in his life. A prominent creature in the narrative is Sam’s dog [his only companion in his home after he “blew up his marriage and professional life”] named Eddie Van Halen, who Sam refers to as a “forty-pound ball of fur.” As Sam says: “we lived in the same house, in a congenial arrangement where I fed him and gave him a place to sleep, while he hung around when I was there . . . Unlike other dogs I’d known, he often looked me directly in the eye, as if assessing my reliability in continuing the relationship, understandable since he’d spent his formative years as a feral animal, as had I.”For this reader, the wonderful writing is always a highlight of this author’s work. Another is his passion for baseball [one which I happen to share]. In discussion with the Southampton Town detective, they make “a preliminary assessment of the Yankees’ prospects - - a frothy brew of irrepressible hope and thwarted expectations. Though we had to admit, the highs had exceeded the lows over the years, and for the thousandth time thanked the Lord we hadn’t been born in Boston or Philadelphia. ‘Or God forbid, Chicago,’ said Sullivan.” Another aspect ripped from the headlines is the fact that Ernesto, born and raised in Colombia, is still undocumented in the US, giving rise to the rampant anti-immigrant hordes who periodically gather to make their feelings known. The investigation, and the novel, are masterfully wrapped up, and this is one more novel by Chris Knopf that I can heartily recommend.
Enjoy the style, if not the plot

4.0 out of 5.0 by Russ A. on August 14, 2018
Sam Acquillo is a hard-drinking, smart alecky, tough guy private eye with a resume that’s a little too good to be believable. Kid from the Bronx , former pro boxer, MIT graduate who became engineering V.P. of a major corporation, and by the time of this book anyway, a cabinetmaker and sailboat owner in ritzy Southampton, N.Y. This is the 9th Sam Acquillo mystery, but my first, so I’ve no doubt left out a lot of the backstory.The homeowner for whom Sam is making cabinets is murdered by way of blows to the head from a golf club. The police arrest Ernesto, a Colombian immigrant in charge of the construction crew. His fingerprints are on the murder weapon. He claims the victim was teaching him to play golf and loaned him the club. Of course Sam believes him to be innocent and sets forth to prove it. Jackie, Sam’s friend and nominal employer is Ernesto’s attorney and Amanda, Sam’s beautiful neighbor, is Sam’s main squeeze. The rest you can work for yourself. the book is all about style, not plot, fortunately, because the former is quite good while the latter, not so much. The repartee is at least B+ quality. For a tough guy mystery the book is refreshingly free of the excessive gore, swearing, and lurid debauchery that typifies the style. It was not until about page 100 that the F-bombs started flowing, and even then it was merely a trickle. Needless to say, Sam figures things out before the local police, the FBI, and the CIA, all of whom get entangled, but as a former G-man I appreciated the fact that the author didn’t make any of them look corrupt, ill-intentioned, or incompetent, just not as smart as Sam. Sam can handle himself in a fistfight, of course, and there’s an excursion to Latin America so the title and cover image can be wedged preposterously into the story line. The very pedestrian solution doesn’t arrive until the last four or five pages, but it didn’t matter since as I said it was all about enjoying the style. Sam gets to cruise around the Little Peconic Bay on his sailboat with a beautiful half-naked woman drinking vodka and enjoying the sunset and seabirds when he’s not out beating up the evil-doers of the world while exchanging witty bon mots with his interlocutors. Enjoy it for what it’s worth.