bract4813mypacksnet's review

Go to review page


Akashic Books, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, is dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors ignored by the mainstream. Akashic has an excellent reputation and when they release a new book, the quality is guaranteed to be superb. and put out some really good books. Long Island Noir, an anthology of dark fiction set on Long Island, has been in my to-be-read pile for far too long, and now I’m sorry I let it linger there. Most of the stories are quite good, rather unconventional, and present a gritty twist on the "American Dream.” Though not every story is true noir, that off-shoot of pulp fiction epitomized by Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, these stories focus on Long Island’s seedy with its loan sharks, hustlers, small- and large-scale mobsters, corrupt actions and pastimes of the wealthy. Kaylie Jones, the editor of this collection, makes the point that the Great Gatsby is really the first Long Island noir story.

Some of these stories are excellent, particularly “The Shiny Car in the Night” by Nick Mamatas. It was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. Another favorite was Anjali's America. In it, a young Pakistani doctor treats another Pakistani woman whose fate she might have shared, had she not escaped from arranged marriage and completed her medical education. The story rang particularly true to me as, when I lived in Pakistan, I was friends with a woman with a Ph.D. in botany married to an intellectually-challenged rug salesman. In Gateway to the Stars, a young man is prevented from finding his younger, drug-addicted brother by a surly copy who, despite being raised in the same town as the young man, has adopted Long Island attitude.

Long Island Noir is definitely a book to savor, despite the page-turner quality of the stories.

samhouston's review

Go to review page


Because Cop to Corpse is my first exposure to Peter Lovesey’s Peter Diamond series, I am certainly no expert on the character or its development over the course of the series’s eleven previous books. But if the other eleven are as entertaining as this one, this detective series should be investigated by all police procedural fans looking for a new detective to follow. Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond is far closer to the end of his career than to the beginning, and it shows in his attitude and how he approaches an investigation. Readers will enjoy watching him play the game his way.

PC Harry Trasker is the third policeman in the Bath area, Diamond’s home turf, to be shot dead by a sniper in just a few weeks. As were the two previous victims, Trasker was killed instantly by a clean shot to the head, indicating that the shooter is a well trained, skillful marksman. More disturbing, perhaps, is the shooter’s uncanny ability to commit the murders without ever being seen or leaving behind a trace of evidence the police can use to track him. This, however, begins to change with the murder of Harry Trasker.

This time someone calls police immediately following the shooting and they arrive on the scene within minutes, something the killer never expected to happen. When the young policeman in charge at the scene of the crime decides that capturing the killer on his own before backup arrives would be a great career move, things get interesting. That is when Peter Diamond arrives – only to learn that the investigation has already been claimed by a rather pompous rival of his from a neighboring jurisdiction, Chief Superintendent Gull.

Gull, though, will prove to be the least of Diamond’s problems because, after Diamond becomes convinced that the shooter might be a fellow cop, he will face a rebellion within the ranks that forces him to investigate that theory on his own. Despite being left on crutches after a near fatal encounter with a darkly helmeted motorcycle rider, Diamond follows the leads wherever they take him. Along the way, he suffers the abuse of grieving police widows, a loss of respect from his own investigating team, and the indignity of reporting to the fool officially in charge of the Somerset Sniper investigation.

Cop to Corpse shows that Peter Lovesey is a crime writer still very much at the top of his game despite having been awarded 2000’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for “lifetime achievement in crime writing.”