The Mysterious Bookshop

Smith, Patricia - Staten Island Noir

Publishers Weekly
Staten Island, the last of New York City’s five boroughs to enter Akashic’s noir series, serves as the setting for this exceptionally strong anthology. One of the best of the 14 selections is Smith’s “When They Are Done with Us,” a chilling story of a mother’s abuse by her wild man-child of a son. Several tales use Staten Island’s landfill effectively, including Ashley Dawson’s “Fresh Kills,” in which a pair of 17-year-olds investigate some suspicious dumping, and Ted Anthony’s “A User’s Guide to Keeping Your Kills Fresh,” in which the brother of an inept contract killer has to bail him out after the killer encounters a multitude of problems getting rid of his victims. Bruce DeSilva’s frightening “Abating a Nuisance” depicts 1858 Staten Island, then home to quarantined people exposed to yellow fever, typhus, or cholera, until residents take matters into their own hands. In Michael Penncavage’s unsettling “Mistakes,” a sober partygoer finds himself trapped by an enraged bruiser in a Staten Island ferry men’s room. Other standouts are PW reviews director Louisa Ermelino’s “Sister-in-Law” and Shay Youngblood’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground.”

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