Title: Dialogues of a Crime
Author: John K. Manos
Price: $4.95 (ebook) / $13.70 (paperback)
Publisher: Amika Press
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
Dialogues of a Crime is an interesting book. It’s billed as “examine[ing] 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.” That may make it sound like a crime novel or mystery, but it is neither of those.
The story starts with a man being thrown off of a roof, and then goes to 1972, where Michael Pollitz, a nineteen-year-old college student, is being arrested in his dorm. Due to poor legal help, Michael ends up in prison, where he is brutally and graphically raped. He has a personal friendship with a Chicago mobster, and asks that the Mob kill his attackers. The story then picks up in 1994, with Chicago PD detective Larry Klinger investigating a tip that a mobster ordered a hit on two convicts. We soon discover that the convicts in question are Pollitz’s attackers.
As I said, no real mystery to solve. The plot, then is whether or not Pollitz will give up his mobster friend, with a side plot of Klinger trying to decide if justice would even be served by forcing the issue. The book really is dialogues – the only action sequence is the rape, and sensitive readers are advised that it’s portrayed graphically.
At 300 pages, the novel is a fairly quick read, and generally well-written. John Manos, the author, has what I found to be a somewhat irritating narrative voice, and is fond of telling us what people will be thinking later. He also tends to “hop heads” – jumping from one character to another’s POV within the same scene.
Having said that, I found these flaws minor. The story works on its own terms as a discussion of crime, morality, and loyalty to family and friends. It’s definitely not something one would see from a large press; rather it is the type of material that can only be found from small and independent operations.