It's open season on the religious community of Heirs Kitchen. The touchingly ecumenical killer--described by 14 eyewitnesses...

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GRIEF STREET

It's open season on the religious community of Heirs Kitchen. The touchingly ecumenical killer--described by 14 eyewitnesses only as a shadow that stinks--begins by stabbing and scalping Rabbi Marvin Paznik on Yom Hashoah (which also happens to be Good Friday) and then proceeds to shoot down seven Catholics enacting the Way of the Cross. The murders eerily echo the plot of Grief Street, a play dealing with the Kitchen of a hundred years earlier, whose shyly anonymous author has sent a copy to actress Ruby Flagg. Even before the rash of killings (there'll be more), Ruby is interested in the play, but her husband, Detective Nell Hockaday of the Street Crimes Unit, reacts like a snake to a charmer. As Hockaday, the foul-weather Catholic recognized by Rabbi Paznik's congregation as a rodef shalom, or pursuer of peace, burrows deeper into the neighborhood's secrets, he finds just what you'd expect from New York's meanest streets--bent cops, wannabe informers, indignant prostitutes and their rabbity clients, rats of every species--and what you'd expect only from the feverishly poetic imagination of Adcock (Devil's Heaven, 1995, etc.): layers upon layers of historical vice and Hockaday's own troubled memories, and the looming figure of Sgt. Joseph (""King Kong"") Kowalski, the cop Hockaday's ratted out for brutality who just won't fade away. Adcock fills the shell of the detective story to the bursting point with Catholic guilt, self-laceration, and spiritual crisis, with a magnificent starring role for Hell's Kitchen. Like-minded readers won't expect him to tie up the loose ends with too neat a flourish.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997