Friday, February 8, 2013

Brooklyn Bones-Triss Stein

Brooklyn Bones

Triss Stein

Poisoned Pen, Feb 5 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464201202

In the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, Widow Erica Donato works part-time at a museum and attends grad school as a history major; but her prime job is to raise her teenage daughter Chris as a single mom. Family friend Joe leads a team renovating the Donato home. Chris, working with the crew, calls her mom informing her that they found the skeletal remains of a young female cradling a teddy bear inside a wall.

The police act at best perfunctory as they seem to prefer to ignore the interred bones and feel mother and daughter should do likewise. Chris needs to know who the victim was while Erica recognizes items buried with Jane Doe from the 1970s. They obtain information from retired reporter Leary who covered the gentrification tactics of the 1970s. As strangers threaten the pair, family friend retired cop Rick Malone ignores Erica’s pleas and affluent developer Steven Richmond hires the mom for no obvious reason while an unknown adversary will kill anyone looking into Jane Doe.

The key to this solid murder mystery is Park Slope today and during the tumultuous 1970s gentrification. The mother and daughter lead couple is each fully developed as Erica is a young widow with concerns and ambitions, and Chris is a typical mercurial teen; while the secondary characters bring out the neighborhood, the family and the mystery. Although some of the actions and decisions by Erica feels out of a slasher movie (stepping into peril) and thus over the top of the Brooklyn Bridge even accounting for New York shtick, fans will enjoy this amateur sleuth tour of the fourth largest city in America.

Harriet Klausner

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