By People Staff
September 03, 2001 12:00 PM

By Philip Gourevitch

Crime and punishment get a workout in this visceral recounting of an unsolved New York City homicide. The thug, a real-life stand-in for the Jimmy Cagney of White Heat, is up against a hard-bitten detective who digs him up from the cold-case file.

Even among the bad men of Hell’s Kitchen, Frankie Koehler was a piece of work. On Feb. 18, 1970, he gunned down two men, wounded another man and disappeared. Everyone knew who did it, but over the years all trails dead-ended and Koehler was presumed dead.

That is until Andy Rosenzweig, chief of investigations for the district attorney of Manhattan, takes the bit between his teeth. In Gourevitch’s hands the tale—expanded from a story that ran originally in The New Yorker—bristles like a Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett story—with the added shiver of truth. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $22)

Bottom Line: Catch this Cold