This is an old paperback that I had never read. I almost threw it away, but glad that I didn't.
From the journal entry of Mo 10/16/17
"Read 330am- 430am BOTTOM LINER BLUES, K. C. Constantine and finished the book. A very strange police novel, and I don't think I've read anything quite like it. Although Mario Balzic, police chief of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania, is the protagonist of the novel, the book is far from a police procedural. It's really about the drastic change in economy of the area and how this grim and uncertain future affects the people who live there."
Mario is obsessed with his experience at Iwo Jima in WWII. He can't remember any of the guys that he fought with- especially the men who died on that beach.
His wife, Ruth, feels that their marriage has hit a dead end. She wants things to be different, but she can't get Mario to understand.
Much of the novel takes place at Dom Muscotti's saloon. Unemployed and broke Russian writer, Nicholas Myushkin argues with bartender, Vinnie Valcanas, about the state of the world and other pseudo-philosophical subjects. Mario vacillates between 'voice of reason' and 'befuddled bystander'.
Crime at the center of the tale-
Crazy lady with child firebombs a tractor trailer at a truck stop. She gets blown out of the rig while trying to keep her toddler from getting too close to the explosion. The woman is blasted out of the cab, lands on the young girl, and crashes her head into a lug nut on the wheel. The child dies. When the driver comes out of the truck stop, he has a heart attack.
The driver is probably the father of the child and the woman might be an ex-wife.
I'm going to skim through the book a second time, and then write some more. This book is not quite like anything in this particular genre. I'll consider buying some more by Constantine.