Gabriel Cohen, Author . Academy Chicago $15.95 (221p) ISBN 978-0-89733-558-4

Cohen's impressive second novel abandons the gritty waterfront of his Edgar-nominated debut, Red Hook , in favor of a rapidly gentrifying nook a few stops up the F train line. Shortly after 9/11 in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill, Jamel Wilson, a 16-year-old father and high school dropout who finds a sense of pride in his fast food gig, wants to listen to music in his courtyard, but his recreation is a profound irritation to his demographically diverse neighbors, each with domestic dramas of their own. Carol Fasone lives with her racist mother and Bosnian husband, Milosz, whom she's putting through engineering school. Mitchell Brett, a bored accountant, and his attractive but troubled wife, Kristin, are trying to have a child. Grace Howard, a West Indian lady, is a workaholic at a downtown insurance company hoping for a big promotion and some romance. Jamel's mother, Melba, sells real estate and struggles to keep Jamel off the streets. But when tempers flare over the loud music, the cops are of little help and the situation turns volatile. Despite an unsurprising climax, Cohen's tight plot, complex characters and vibrant cityscape create a convincing slice of urban life. (July)

Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-89733-652-9
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