Brooklyn Detective Frankie Donovan, mob boss Tony Sannullo, and hitman Nicky “The Rat” Fusco all grew up together in a small town in Delaware. As children they were the heart of a circle of friends. In Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo, readers learn each took a vow of Friendship and Honor. Both tragedy and life in general eventually separate the group. One man has a secret that could destroy a friendship; another has done time and in doing so, lost the love of his life. As adults, they all end up in New York and occasionally get together to see each other. Detective Frankie has to be very careful about being seen with these guys because of their criminal activities.
When Frankie gets assigned to investigate some brutal murders, it appears that signs are being left behind in the evidence. At each murder, Frankie finds something that seems to be a message linking the murders to someone from his childhood. This makes him suspect one of his friends. Still remembering his vow, Frankie doesn’t want to admit that it might be one of these guys until he knows for sure. As he continues to investigate, he is stumped about which man it might be. He also discovers that the murderer appears to have a mistaken vendetta against him. Desperate to solve this mystery, it becomes difficult to hang on to his vow.
As we learn about the details of the current murders, the author takes us back in time to relive each man’s life. Decisions that were made and events that took place spanning over 30 years had direct effects on what was happening in the present. While not all secrets were revealed to Frankie, the author reveals them to his readers. Some authors have difficulties with switching between characters and the past and present, however, Giammatteo manages to do this flawlessly so the reader does not become lost in the story.
I found myself totally captivated by Murder Takes Time and truly believe that is one of the best murder mysteries that I have ever read. The goose bumps on my arms will attest to that! Being the first book in the Friendship and Honor series, I look forward to reading future books by this author.
(Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views)