SOFT MONEY by k.j.a. Wishnia


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From her precarious perch near Manhattan’s seedy north pole, Ecuadorean ex-cop Filomena Buscarsela describes herself as “raised on angry prophets,” and, brother, does it show. When her corner shopkeeper L†zaro PÇrez is robbed and shot dead by a pair of street punks and his pregnant sister asks Filomena to investigate, it might look like real sob-story stuff, but not for Filomena, who shoulders her toddler daughter Tonia, pairs up with Officer Janette Ivins, a rookie cop who’s looking for guidance, and makes things happen. Since nobody’s talking about the two punks, Filomena figures there’s a mob connection somewhere along the line. But little does she know that her new employers at the Environmental Action Fund, where she presumably expects to meet a better class of people than she did as an NYPD detective, are up to their lungs in the case via mobbed-up super-polluter Samuel Morse, who sits on the EAF board in order to oversee his money-laundering activities more efficiently. Even though everybody Filomena works with, from Officer Ivins to EPA Superfund investigator Gina Lucchese, sells her out sooner or later, Filomena’s scorched-earth tactics, which mainly involve getting enough on bad guys to squeeze them for information about other bad guys, are as effective as her wisecracks. And what wisecracks! As his blistering hardcover debut shows so well, Wishnia, whose self-published paperback 23 Shades of Black (1998) was nominated for the Edgar and Anthony awards, is the first American writer to propel both his dialogue and his story by harnessing the recent British hard-boiled school’s tidal wave of class rage.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1999
ISBN: 0-525-94501-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000


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