by Bill Mesce, Jr
Dante DiMarchese is a forensic psychologist, an expert in the workings of the criminal mind and the man responsible for putting the Bailey Beach serial killer behind bars. When a soldier home from a tour in Afghanistan is charged with manslaughter, Dante is immediately called on to help. Meanwhile, the Bailey Beach killer is threatening to smear Dante's name, while Dante's persistent ex-brother-in-law ropes him into an inheritance dispute between a still-living father and his family. In the heart of New York, will Dante's unravel the legacies and lies that others have left behind? Can he contain his own deceptions?
A DiMarchese Case File
Legacy has many elements of a modern crime novel: it opens with a violent death, there’s a serial killer, even the New York setting feels familiar, and yet this book doesn’t slip easily into the ‘crime’ genre. It does have strong legal and psychological components but I don’t see it as a legal or psychological thriller either. The book may be hard to place but it’s easy to award 5 stars. It’s hugely enjoyable. The dialogue amuses with its authenticity, the plot engages throughout, but it’s the characters that stay with you, not least Dr. Dante DiMarchese.
Dante is not especially likable, at first, but he soon grows on you. He is a snob. He lives on the upper east side of Manhattan, has expensive adornments, and is super vain; with a range of toupees and a desire to sit showing his good side when on TV. Over the course of the book we find out why Dante is like he is, and how his tragic childhood created problems and opportunities. A forensic psychologist, Dante wrote a popular book about the Bailey Beach serial killer, a man he profiled and helped put away. We first meet Dante trying to promote his follow up, but people are more interested in his serial killer book.
The story opens at a beer-league softball game at the old World’s Fair ground in Queens. It’s a typical domestic scene, a ball game with heckling from the side-lines, when a violent act leaves a family man fighting for his life. It’s not long before a video of the incident is everywhere, leading to the Fox News headline ‘Sports Rage’.
The perp, Abel Grant, is a former soldier back from Afghanistan. Dante is asked to work on his behalf; a request that comes from a Lieutenant friend of Dante’s, an ex military man himself.
In a separate case, Dante is asked by his ex-brother-in-law (yes Dante was married) to help with an inheritance dispute. What’s unusual about this case is that the will belongs to a man that is still alive. He’s an old guy and has suffered strokes but is he of sound mind? And can Dante help a broken family when his own family life has been so fractured?
Meanwhile, from prison, the Bailey Beach killer is threatening to damage Dante's reputation. It seems that happenchance played a key role in his capture and the killer may be writing his own version of events, exposing the true importance of Dante’s role.
The characterisations are a joy and Dante’s relationships are fun. Not least with the women in his life, notably a female solicitor he asks out and his PA come organiser Mrs Froelich.
About Bill Mesce, Jr:
Bill Mesce, Jr. is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a playwright and screenwriter. He is also an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities in his native New Jersey.