BOOK REVIEW: ‘Say Nice Things About Detroit’

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By this point in the book, Mr. Lasser already has introduced another set of characters, one or more of whom may be, or may know, Natalie and Dirk’s killers, and as the story progresses, the author interweaves their narratives into his tale. Most of this is done in the present, but several are flashbacks, which can get a bit confusing. But his characters are well-drawn and, wonder of wonders these days, likable.

For the most part, Mr. Lasser is a fine storyteller and his easy, understated style moves the novel along at a smooth and enjoyable pace. He gets a bit heavy-handed with his you-can-go-home-again-to-Detroit subtheme, but that’s the price of admission.

At the very end, one thing gave me pause. On the inside back flap, there’s a picture of Mr. Lasser (who is soap-opera handsome), below which it says he was born in Detroit and worked for “the National Steel Corporation and Lehman Brothers.” But it also says he “currently lives in Aspen, Colorado, and Los Angeles, California.” Hey, what about Detroit? Maybe it’s all right if you just say nice things about it.

• John Greenya is a Washington-area writer.

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