RaveCriminal ElementProving Ground is a compelling read from start to finish, a masterful novel that speeds along telling its tale of crime, urban life, family, and war. Every major character in it has wounds and deals with a degree of corruption in their soul, but how each person responds to these stresses is what differentiates them ... Page by page, scene by scene, Proving Ground’s plot builds. Blauner develops his threads and twists with precision. The narrative’s forward momentum never flags. Yet, at the same time, Blauner shows how the past often intrudes on people—especially people like Natty—suffering from the effects of war ... Proving Ground melds plot, character, and action into a seamless whole, all while giving us a clear look, a bracing look, at the New York City of right now.