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Mystery & Detective / Short Stories - Wonder Book

In fact, I enjoyed nearly every entry. And though I found it highly readable, roughly half of the stories were not exactly memorable. There were, however, some real gems in this collection that deserve mention.

Which leads me to a criticism In other words, many of these stories could have taken place in the San Fernando Valley and, other than more time spent in cars, little would have changed. Perhaps the themes the collection does evoke—marginality, isolation, desperation—are not specific to Staten Island per se but rather shared by suburbs and outskirts throughout the country. I kept waiting for someone to get killed. It wasn't that loud, considering, but it lingered in my ears for an extra second nonetheless. The chassis bounced once or twice and the car settled, still, on the side of the road like the collision had knocked the wind out of it.

My brother groaned beside me.

Staten Island Noir (Akashic Noir)

He touched his fingertips to his forehead. One eye was open, the other still closed. I guess he wanted to make sure the incident was worth the effort of opening both. I was glad he seemed okay. I grimaced in sympathy at the goose egg already rising over his right eye. Maybe that's why that left one had stayed closed. He nodded as if I'd given him a lot of information to process. He squinted through the windshield with his one open eye then turned and did the same out the back window.

He was looking, I realized, for the other car. I turned around too. A cloud of thin gray dust hung suspended in the ruby-red glow of the brake lights. I realized I still had the brake pedal pinned. Too much of a rush, I guess. He sniffed. My brother scoffed: "Dad'll let you have the car whenever we hang out, especially because we hang out, whatever the fuck time we come home. What're you, dense?

Danny shrugged like the answer was so obvious he could barely speak it. He thinks I'm safer when we're together. He wouldn't run the risk of separating us. Mom wouldn't let him. Danny turned one way in his seat, and then the other, glancing around us.

I didn't know what part of my commentary his crack about the car had been meant to criticize. I decided I should get a look at how bad before I tried continuing the drive home, or continuing my attempt at a conversation with my younger brother about his growing drug problem. Just in case it was worse than I thought, worse than it had sounded. The car, I mean. I opened the door, cool night air rushing into the car. I realized I'd been sweating, the breeze running up the sleeves of my T-shirt. I took a deep breath. When I turned to hang out the door and look, the seat belt caught.

Danny stifled a giggle. I popped the belt free and leaned out of the car. I hadn't even thought of that. Gas tank was on that side too. I heard the flick of a lighter and smelled cigarette smoke. Glad he was so confident. But things seemed okay.

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The back tire wasn't flat. I could see the hubcap. No dents that I could see in the back quarter panel, at least in the faint wash of the dome light from inside the car. Without turning, I reached my arm across the car for the cigarette. The lack of obvious damage had me feeling better, more and more confident that nothing was wrong that we couldn't play off as a parking lot accident and pin on some other idiot driver.

Staten Island History Books Score Metal Detecting

Dad would grumble, but he'd forgive. And small dents he could pound out himself in the driveway.

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Slaying Genre: Micro-Review of Staten Island Noir

He was handy like that. Danny slipped the cigarette into my fingers. I brought the smoke to my lips, tapped the brake pedal. The taillights ignited, a red burst off the back of the car washing over the wild green bushes and trunks of the trees. Still working, that was good. None of the telltale bright white gave away broken glass back there. Amazing, I thought, how bright those lights actually are. I tapped them again. And then I saw it. My throat went dry.