The hard-boiled crime story told by John Heidenry in “Zero at the Bone” reads like something exhumed from a time capsule. That’s because it is. As a boy in St. Louis, Mr. Heidenry came into close enough proximity to the kidnapping of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease in 1953 to have developed an enduring fascination with it. That fascination has yielded a tough, gripping chiller of a book, written straightforwardly yet cloaked with the trappings of pulp fiction.
Wow. Is that even an English sentence? How can something be “cloaked” with “trappings”? It’s like a black hole of meaning, only much less interesting than that would be. Dear NYT, somebody needs to put Janet Maslin to bed.