cover image Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms: Stories and Essays

Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms: Stories and Essays

Tim McLoughlin. Akashic, $23.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-61775-984-0

A wistful Irish sensibility and memories from a 30-year career as a peace officer in the New York City criminal justice system haunt this solid collection of six stories and seven essays from McLoughlin (Heart of the Old Country). Addiction and regret are major themes, as shown in the nostalgic “When All This Was Bay Ridge,” set in Brooklyn, and the tightly told “Scared Rabbit,” set in New Orleans. The nonfiction pieces reinforce these themes, with accounts of a brief stint working as a night watchman at a transit yard (“Opening Day”) and longer service as an officer in Brooklyn Criminal Court (“Excited Utterances” and “Pimps and Hoes”). “Ralph and Sam,” one of the most enjoyable essays, covers chasing down ticket scalpers at Radio City Music Hall, while “Maharaja for a Year (1999–2000)” minutely details gambling excursions to Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. With spare prose, McLoughlin creates memorable vignettes of urban life. Fans of Kent Anderson’s Liquor, Guns & Ammo will want to check this out. (Mar.)