September 26, 2005 12:00 PM

By Danny Leigh


Crime novelist Lizbeth Greene gets a premonition that her deliverance from a crippling bout of writer’s block might lie in telling the life story of notorious New York City gang leader Wilson Velez. But with a hint of the Hannibal Lecter-Clarice Starling tension in The Silence of the Lambs, Velez turns the tables and forces his collaborator to acknowledge her own deceptions and shading of the truth. Even the so-so ending doesn’t blunt the power of Leigh’s raw, vivid writing and brisk storytelling.

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