LIFE GOES SLEEPING (1991)
1st Dylan Klein book
Dylan Klein, a bush league insurance investigator, returns to his old Brooklyn neighborhood for his mother's funeral. Alienated from his family and by the rituals of his faith, unable to reach the grief he knows is there, Klein sets out on a journey fraught with treason, murder, and betrayal.
Klein and his close friend, ex-New York City Police detective Johnny MacClough, stumble through an odyssey fueled by the winds of change: winds themselves created by a thawing in the Cold War. Klein and MacClough are buffeted as the two super powers struggle to erase some potentially embarrassing loose ends left dangling since WWII. Another player, a "wanna-be" power, injects poison into the brew in an attempt to snag the loose ends for its own purposes: political blackmail or, maybe, just revenge.
Ultimately, however, Life Goes Sleeping is not a spy/thriller, but rather a hardboiled detective novel rooted in the traditions of the 30's and 40's. Klein is a man trading water for his life. When one of his clients is brutally murdered, he is forced to learn how to swim or drown. Johnny MacClough is both his lifeguard and his instructor. These men are too preoccupied with the small picture - namely, their own survival - to worry about politics and matters of state. For them, the puzzle pieces multiply. The game keeps getting more complex, but someone's neglected to send them a rule book.
Billed as a hard-boiled detective novel, this mystery debut ambitiously attempts to recall pulp fiction of the '30s and '40s.Coleman shows skill in creating the salty, quick-witted dialogue that readers expect from this genre, giving the best lines to a wisecracking bush-league insurance investigator, Dylan Klein. We're introduced to Klein at his mother's funeral, which he leaves in disgust in order to take a sentimental trip back to his old neighborhood of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, N.Y. There he meets Alexander Korin, a small, elusive Russian. With little explanation, Korin hires Klein to track down a man named Mikhail Brodsky, whose life he supposedly saved during WW II. Coleman hooks the reader immediately with the surprise shooting of Korin, during which Klein is knocked out by a gun butt. When he awakens to find a headless corpse, Klein becomes embroiled in an extremely complicated plot involving a threatening mystery man who uses the phone to orchestrate Klein's treacherous endeavor to find Brodsky. Coleman gets in over his head by throwing in too many plot twists regarding German-Russian relations, and the cliched introduction of a seductive woman posing as Korin's daughter typifies a tendency toward sensationalism that undermines an otherwise compelling story. -Publishers Weekly