In McLoughlin's entertaining if uneven anthology of 19 brand new hard-boiled and twisted tales, each set in a different Brooklyn neighborhood, the best way to get to know New York City's most diverse borough is either to be dead or to cause someone else to assume that state in as grisly a manner as possible. This might be achieved via the old school method—for instance, with a nickel-plated revolver and a heart full of malice, as in "The Book Signing," Pete Hamill's lyrical opener about a Park Slope "ex-pat" writer who revisits his now-gentrified neighborhood only to step inadvertently into a past he'd long thought buried and forgotten. Or death might arrive in a new-fangled mode, with a scalpel and an Internet connection, as in Arthur Nersesian's compelling "Hunter/ Trapper," in which a Brooklyn Heights Web stalker makes the serious mistake of failing to secure his stalkee securely before ravishment. If a few weaker entries exploit the borough as an arbitrary setting for standard cops-and-robbers fare, the best stories concern people in the present coming to terms with the past. In McLoughlin's evocative "When All This Was Bay Ridge," a Sunset Park cop's son struggles with his dead father's secret history, while Maggie Estep's "Triple Harrison," depicting a squatter who tends a broken-down race horse in the abandoned wastes of East New York, takes the prize as the book's weirdest tale. (July)
Forecast: Blurbs from the likes of Laura Lippman and Tim Cockey will help call attention to the book, while a contribution by Irish author Ken Bruen will have his fans wondering how Galway is connected to Brooklyn.
Release date: 07/01/2004