Created by Jon Katz
File this one in the "Down These Genteel Suburban Streets a Man Must Go Department". Former hotshot Wall Street wheeler dealer CHRISTOPHER "KIT" DELEEUW came this close to getting nabbed on a insider-trading beef and wisely decided to get out. So he tucked his tail between his legs and went home to the 'burbs to play house hubby, jockeying his kids Ben and Em back and forth in the family wagon from school to soccer practise to piano lessons etc. etc. through the streets of beautiful Rochambeau, New Jersey (yes, you read it correctly. The "Garden State", where New Yorkers flee criminal tax rates for merely ridiculous ones). His long-suffering wife Jane, a psychiatrist, brings home most of the bacon. But he's not acting as Mr. Mom, Kit tries to earn some geetus by doing a bit of P.I. work, falling back on his military police training. Nothing spectacular, mostly tailing cheating spouses and nailing deadbeat dads, which he particularly enjoys.And it's not exactly lucrative, either, but its covers art supplies for his kids science projects.
He's gone as far as renting an office on the second floor of the American Way Mall, an appropriate place for a suburban detective. His best friends are Luis, an expatriate Cuban, formerly a hotshot criminal lawyer in Havana, now the manager of a Lightning Burger fast-food joint in the same mall; and Benchley, an eighty-something local historian and elderly owner of the Rochambeau Garden Center. And Kit also has a nemesis of sorts, in the guise of Police Chief Leeming, a tough former big city cop, who isn't quite sure if Kit is a help or a hindrance.
Like I said, nothing spectacular, but somehow, even in the affluent comfort of Rochambeau, murder can (and does) rear its ugly head occasionally. And, if nothing else, Kit proves that in an upwardly mobile suburb, putting your best face forward generally means your dealing with the two-faced.
The New York Times Book Review praised Death by Station Wagon for its "clever twists and "Big Chill" sentiments." I found Kit and family appealling, but the series suffers from "Big Book Syndrome." A bit of editorial pruning would tighten up an intriguing series.
Thanks to Beeper for his contributions on this one..
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