Brooklyn continues to get no respect in this collection of 19 stories, most the work of unheralded hands, all previously unpublished for good reason.
The best known of the contributors, Pete Hamill, falls flat with the tale of an author returning to the old neighborhood to confront the “goil” he left behind in “The Book Signing.” Norman Kelley wanders the gritty side of the borough in the gender-bending “The Code.” Pearl Abraham explains Hasidic intricacies in “Hasidic Noir.” Arthur Nersesian resolves an Internet stalking in a brownstone house of horror in “Hunter/Trapper.” The saddest story, Ellen Miller’s “Practicing,” focuses on jumping off Canarsie Pier, climbing a bridge, and what amounts to child endangerment. Several cop partners do each other in, none of the variations noteworthy except for their detailed knowledge of Brooklyn street names—except perhaps for editor McLoughlin’s final twisted coup de grâce in “When All This Was Bay Ridge.” The most original story is “Fade to . . . Brooklyn,” Ken Bruen’s brutal tale of an idealized tourist in Galway.
Most readers will turn with relief from these unappealing looks at Brooklyn byways and stereotypes back to Manhattan or Cedar Rapids.