Lieberman’s Day

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

LIEBERMAN’S DAY is a carefully timed, fast-moving murder tale. Abe Lieberman is not even a specially likable cop, but his aging, weary personality carries the reader through a painstakingly long and difficult day in his career. While Lieberman’s milieu is ethnically Jewish, and the reader is invited into wonderful references to food, activities at funeral services, family attitudes, Hanrahan, his partner and friend, is an excellent Roman Catholic foil. This old-time team affectionately call each other Rabbi and Father Murphy, and it is clear and delightful to see how each shares in the other’s backgrounds and strengths.

Lieberman is a long-time Chicago policeman and has seen nearly everything. Nevertheless, he is shocked to find that someone in his own family has been shot and killed. Author Kaminsky makes it clear that if this incident had not been so close to Lieberman, he would still have responded in the same effective and methodical way. With the clock ticking, this tragedy truly unfolds before the reader’s eyes. Pathos and somberness mix with a wry humor. Lieberman ultimately manages to unravel a story equal to the Greek tragedies his estranged son-in-law teaches at Northwestern University in Evanston.

While Lieberman is calling on the heads of gangs for their help in the murder of his nephew, Hanrahan is having to delve into a case he and Lieberman had hoped was closed. Unfortunately, he does not have Lieberman’s support when he needs it, and the two tales make their marks on both men. Resolution of Hanrahan’s problem is a final one, and the solution of Lieberman’s murder case will probably cause the book to fall from the reader’s hands.