Reviews of Body Work (2010)
Review by michael a draper (2011-01-24)
There is a body artist who works in a Chicago night club. She permits customers to paint her naked body on stage. Her image is posted on a web-cam which she later sells to the public.
A young painter draws something on the body artist which causes an intoxicated man to make accusations and storms the stage. He's asked to leave the club. Then, outside the club, there is a second shouting match between the painter and the club patron.
Later, the painter is murdered in an alley beside the club and the man, Chad Visneski, is accused and arrested for the crime.
Chad is a veteran who fought in Iraq. His father tells Vic that Chad suffers from PTSD but even so, Chad's father doesn't believe that his son would gun down a defenseless woman. He hires Vic to clear his name.
Vic finds that the owner of the club was having financial difficulties and that Anton Kystarnik of Rest EZ may have loaned her money and used the loan to gain interest in the nightclub.
Vic turns up a lead on the body artist's true identity. Her name is Karin Buckley and Vic wants to find her to learn what she knows about what went on at the club.
The plot is complex and tightly connected so that the reader will be entertained.
Spoiler: Vic hires her niece, Perta, and a number of Iraq vets. The story takes an interesting turn as events that happened in Iraq are detailed. There is a question that U.S. contractors might have been issued faulty equipment by their employers and the employers sold some of this equipment to the U.S. government. When some of the contractors died due to the faulty equipment, the employer paid off the families of the fallen employees so they wouldn't discuss what happened in Iraq.
The minor characters are also appealing such as one of the Iraq vets staff sergeant Marty Jepson. Another old friend is at the scene as Vic's elderly friend and protector, Mr. Contreras, makes an appearance. His manner adds a realistic and personal touch as does young Clara Gauman, who is a character we see develop in the course of the story.
The novel is overly long and could stand a bit of tightening but readers will enjoy the story, the intricate plot and engaging characters.
(This review refers to the 2010 version titled “Body Work”)