cover image Tower


Reed Farrel Coleman, Ken Bruen, . . Busted Flush, $15 (172pp) ISBN 978-1-935415-07-7

Divided into two halves, this short, brutally poetic tour of the underside of Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia marks the first collaboration between noir masters Bruen (The Guards ) and Coleman (The James Deans ). Drawing on the classic theme of childhood friends pulled toward different sides of the law, the coauthors tell the story of Nick and Todd in quick concise scenes, sketching backstories and love lives, flipping time and incidents like Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction . Running errands under the cold eyes of an enforcer, Griffin, for the Bible-quoting gangster Boyle, the heroes learn fast enough that “you live in the rain forest, you get wet.” And looming symbolically over their narrow, violent world is the north tower of the World Trade Center. Bruen and Coleman shine, dropping in-jokes, experimenting and displaying all the literary chops that have made their novels such cult favorites among mystery fans. (Sept.)