Read as part of cbr14 bingo: birds. There are birds on the cover of the book.
Bill Loehfelm is a writer that deserves to be celebrated more than he is.
I remember picking up The Devil She Knows more out of curiosity than excitement. I wanted to see how Loehfelm would bring Staten Island to life. What I got instead was one of the best crime novels I’ve read the last few years. I got caught up in Maureen’s story. I followed her to New Orleans and while I enjoyed the first book with her as an NOPD officer, it still doesn’t feel the same as his first.
Fresh Kills is his debut effort and it shows that he is a true talent. His characterization is so good; I felt immersed in John Sanders’ story even as he acted like a self-destructive butt to everyone around him. He gets to the root of human emotions in complex situations. And like his other Staten Island effort, he really makes the place feel alive. He doesn’t try to spruce up the forgotten borough in literary terms but, like William Boyle’s south Brooklyn, he treats it like a real place and not just a glorified topographical map for a story.
I think part of the reason this has low reviews is because of the mystery aspect. There is a mystery and Sanders does try to solve it but he’s such a mess that he seems to give up and take his anger out on everyone else. The resolution doesn’t come until near the end and is bound to disappoint. I liked it. The crime aspect is only tangential to John’s life and the lives of those in Staten Island.
Bloodroot is the only other Staten Island book by Loehfelm I haven’t read and that’s a shame. He really could have been a Bard of the space.