City of Margins

Pegasus Crime. Mar. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781643133188. $25.95. M
Boyle’s latest (after A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself) is another slice of gritty urban noir set in the claustrophobic neighborhoods of Brooklyn in the 1990s and revolves around a ensemble full of big hopes and dashed dreams that wouldn’t be out of place in an early Scorsese film. Ex-cop Donnie Parascandolo, who makes ends meet by doing muscle work for the local mob, is rudderless, grieving the loss of his only child, who died by suicide several years ago. His ex-wife, Donna, listens to records alone in her apartment and searches for a connection in life to replace what she lost. Rosemarie Baldini, a widow whose late husband owed money to the mob, frets for her son, Mikey, a schoolteacher who dreams of someday writing a screenplay that will propel him out of the neighborhood and into the big time.
VERDICT The author’s exquisitely drawn characters soon uncover secrets and make connections with each other that echo those of a Greek tragedy, with similar results. Boyle comfortably stands next to literary crime favorites like Don Winslow, Richard Price, and Lou Berney.
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