This is the OG of the Akashic noir series, a series I greatly enjoy, being both a city lover and a fan of mystery/noir tales.
I don’t always like short stories. I enjoy a book that I can really sink my teeth into, a plot that grips me, an argument to be made in non-fiction. These are usually my exception to the rule.
I used to make fun of Brooklyn a lot. It’s become synonymous with gentrification, upper-middle and upper-class whites inhabiting working class neighborhoods, many housing Black, brown and non-white folk, though gentrification is certainly not limited to race, especially in Brooklyn. Everyone I know my age who lived in New York City wanted to be there, first because it was cheap, then because it was trendy, finally because it became so popular. Give me the less pretentious side of Manhattan and the Bronx any day of the week.
But I started working in Brooklyn last year and I came to really like it. I appreciate what goes on in the borough, the folks who have worked to change it for the better, and even those who have moved in seeking a better life. I figured it was finally time to square myself with this legendary short story collection that started it all.
Like all short story collections, there were some I enjoyed more than others and I’m just going to list them here…
Pete Hamill’s The Book Signing: a moving story packed with grief and a great ending.
Tim McLoughlin’s When All This Was Bay Ridge: This one started off as your typical maudlin “back in the day” tale and then became something else entirely.
Arthur Nersesian’s Hunter/Trapper: I’ve got to read more by this guy. A genuine thriller. Someone who knows how to utilize the economic language of the short story to tell a tale.
Neal Pollack’s Scavenger Hunt: Hilarious. A great concept that would make a fun movie.
Luciano Guerrerio’s Eating Italian: A bleak comedy that could have been turned into a book.
Maggie Estep’s Triple Harrison: In the same vein as her Ruby Murphy mysteries. Horses are prominently involved.
CJ Sullivan’s Slipping Into Darkness: You never really leave…
Chris Niles’ Ladies Man: A good one to close out on.