Bruce Kohler has been in and out of detox centers most of his adult life. On Christmas day, he isn’t too surprised to find himself in another center, this one on the Bowery in New York City. Bruce quickly befriends fellow patient Godfrey Kettleworth, III, a man on the outs with his rich family and not too popular with the staff. While in detox, an alcoholic with terminal cancer is found dead in the laundry room and Godfrey dies right before Bruce’s eyes. With the help of his lifetime friend Jimmy and Jimmy’s girlfriend Barbara, a counselor who has worked at the Bowery before, Bruce begins his own investigation into these two mysterious deaths, which unravels a murderous pattern among detox centers in New York and places his own life in jeopardy.
Zelvin’s debut novel provides the reader with an insightful peek into the mind and life of an alcoholic trying to stay sober, as well as AA’s 12-step program. The characters are intriguing and well-developed, especially alcoholic Bruce who faces a continual battle to refrain from drinking, and Barbara, a codependent counselor with a witty sense of humor. The plot moves at a fast pace with plenty of twists and turns and suspicious characters lurking about, all set within the glorious backdrop of New York City. This entertaining mystery is sure to draw fans anxious to read future books by this talented author.