Down the Mean Streets of Reagan-Era NYC,
This review is from: 23 Shades of Black (Filomena Buscarsela Mysteries) (Paperback)
If you like your crime novels with a heavy does of social commentary, this one set in early 1980s NYC is just the ticket. The book introduces Filomena Buscarsela, a NYPD patrolwoman who, as a female Latina immigrant, is the ultimate outsider. Responding to a toxic incident at a food bank, she stumbles into a strange plot involving a potential environmental coverup by a real-estate developer, coupled with the possible murder of an artist. The story takes her in and out of the seedy East Village punk/new-wave scene as she pokes around for information, conducting an investigation that's way above her pay grade.
Although she contains elements typical of the hard-boiled genre protagonist (heavy drinker, self-destructive, sarcastic/cynical cracks, etc.), she remains a refreshing character to follow down the mean streets of Reagan-era America. It's kind of a fantasy plot in a way -- the brown lefty heroine standing up to the corrupt capitalist gentrifiers. The story is OK, nothing special -- the real reason to read the book is for its unabashed politics. Those who have only experienced the cleaned up New York of the last 20-25 years may find much to astonish in these pages, while those who lived it will be reminded of just how bad it was.
I'll definitely be seeking out the next in the series -- Soft Money.