Item description for Hose Monkey by Tony Spinosa...
When former NYPD detective Joe Serpe hit bottom, he just kept on going. Having lost his career to charges of corruption, his family to divorce, his partner to suicide, and his fireman brother to the tragedy of 9/11, Serpe's world is nearly empty but for his cat, Mulligan. Living in a basement apartment in a blue collar town on Long Island, Joe spends his days filling tanks with home heating oil and his nights filling his belly with vodka.
But when a young retarded man who worked for Joe's oil company is cruelly murdered, Joe Serpe rediscovers purpose and grasps for a last chance at redemption. Along with his former Internal Affairs Bureau nemesis, Bob Healy, and Marla Stein, a brave and beautiful, group home psychologist, Joe wades into the world of street gangs, anti-immigration organizations, and the Red Mafia.
Hose Monkey is a rough and tumble ride through a violent, often cruel world, a world where it's hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys without a scorecard. It is a world of murder and extortion, but one in which an innocent Down Syndrome girl may hold the key that unlocks the mystery. At the same time, Hose Monkey is a story of salvation and forgiveness, a tale of justice done.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.75" Weight: 1.15 lbs.
Release Date Oct 31, 2006
Publisher Bleak House Books
ISBN 1932557180 ISBN13 9781932557183
Availability 0 units.
More About Tony Spinosa
Tony Spinosa currently resides in Long Island New York New York, in the state of New York. Tony Spinosa was born in 1956.
Reviews - What do customers think about Hose Monkey?
3.5 stars - Better than good Jun 4, 2008
First Sentence: Joe Serpe just assumed there was no more, that things had moved well beyond loss and grief, beyond worsening.
Ex-cop Joe Serpe had been dismissed from his job, his partner committedsuicide, his wife divorced him and moved, with his son, to Florida and his younger brother, Vinnie, killed in 9/11. The only thing he has left is his cat, Milligan.
Joe is just getting by delivering heating oil when he finds the murdered body of the young, retarded man, who was his hose monkey--someone who handles the hose on the oil truck. This final straw is enough to jolt Joe back to action, investigating Cain's murder with the help of Bob Healy, a retired IA cop who played a major part in Joe being fired from the force.
Spinosa is definitely the darker side of Reed Coleman but the same high quality of writer is there.
The story starts simple but increases in complexity as it increases in suspense, although it was a little over-complicated. Coleman knows how to create real, interesting characters and give the reader an insight into their emotions.
I do have a bit of a problem with the classic hasn't-been-in-a- relationship-for-a-long-time-but-suddenly-am-in-love thing. The best relationship was that between Serpe and Healy. I really enjoyed the dynamic it brought to the book.
This isn't my favorite book by Coleman/Spinosa, but I liked it well enough that I shall definitely read another.
Murder in the Heating Oil Biz May 14, 2008
I got this book as a freebie and after letting it sit around for a year, thought I'd give it twenty pages or so to grab me. I can't say that it out and out grabbed me, but it certainly held my attention enough to keep reading, even as some of the story slipped into cliché territory. I do like it when crime stories take me into a world I know nothing about, and the early parts of the book do that quite well.
We meet ex-NYPD detective Joe Serpe as he goes about his work as a cash-in-hand delivery man for a small Long Island heating oil company. Serpe was booted off the force several years ago on corruption charges, and lost his wife and son in the resulting divorce. And if that wasn't enough, his firefighter younger brother who took him in during those dark days was killed during 9-11. Through Joe, author Spinosa (a pseudonym for Reed Farrel Coleman) explains the ins and outs of the home oil business, setting things up.
Then the story moves into somewhat conventional territory, as a young mentally handicapped worker at the oil company is found dead and Serpe feels obligated to poke into the matter. Eventually he teams up with the retired internal affairs officer who destroyed his career, whom he coincidentally met while making his delivery rounds. Both are stock figures, tough but emotionally adrift ex-cops who manage to find something meaningful in their private joint investigation. And when a good-looking, straight-talking psychiatrist appears in the story, it's not too hard to guess that she'll turn into Serpe's love interest.
Spinosa develops the story at a good pace -- not too fast, not too slow -- as the two former cops run down various leads and the plot twists and turns. The knifing death of an illegal immigrant spurs them to look at a pro-America protest group operating in the area, and the suspicious disappearance of a bullying worker from the local mental health facility also catches their attention. All the while, they have to keep out of the way of the real cops, who don't appreciate any interference. The book starts to get a little weak toward the end, as the duo are able to call upon all manner of connections for favors in solving the murder. And when the identity of the real villains is revealed, it's kind of disappointingly cliché -- even if the scam at the heart of it all is kind of interesting and new.
All in all, not great, but not bad -- a decent, average crime story that passes the time well enough, but is unlikely to leave much of an impression. For those that enjoy it a little more than I did, there's a sequel, The Fourth Victim.
A superb crime novel from one of the genre's best Nov 2, 2006
Reed Farrel Coleman wrote one of the best crime novels of the past few years, "The James Deans," which was nominated for virtually every mystery award there is, and won quite a few of them. Now Coleman is wearing a slightly different hat: that of a man called Tony Spinosa.
Regardless of what name he's using, though, you know that Coleman/Spinosa is going to produce quality, literate fiction that probes the depths of the human soul in the form of an outstanding mystery plot. "Hose Monkey," his latest, is no exception.
Joe Serpe was an NYPD detective, an honest copy, but one who covered too often for those who were less than pure, especially his drug-involved partner. Serpe lost his job with the PD, then tragically he lost his brother, a hero fireman who died on 9/11. After that, Serpe lost most of his reasons for trying, and now he just muddles through life, existing from day to day, but not really caring. He can't even bring himself to remove his brother's voice from his answering machine.
That starts to change, however, when a mentally retarded young man whom Serpe works with -- he's a fuel oil deliveryman, hence the book's title -- is murdered, and Serpe blames himself. He decides to investigate the murder, and finds an unlikely ally in the form of a retired Internal Affairs detective -- the very same cop who ran Serpe off the force several years before.
The plot of "Hose Monkey" is violent and suspenseful, but at its heart it is a quieter story, both sad and touching, and exquisitely written. Coleman has the ability to create characters who feel much realer than those we usually encounter in mystery stories, and as a result, their lives and their plights are much more moving. We care about them, because he has made them matter to us.
It is that aspect of Coleman's work (and now Spinosa's) that makes it rise to the top. Despite his excellence as a crime novelist, deep down Coleman is still a poet, and his work sings with a love of language and a keen understanding of the human psyche. He is a true credit to our genre, one of the finest writers we have.