Monday, November 28, 2011
The New York/Tri State Chapter of Sisters in Crime published this second Murder New York Style anthology, gathering 22 stories set in the five boroughs for FRESH SLICES. The flavor is delightfully unsavory--from Lina Zeldovich's tough action story, The Brighton Beach Mermaid, about a sex slave who uses her brains, Triss Stein's poignantly enigmatic The Greenmarket Violinist, Leigh Neely's shockingly satirical A Vampire in Brooklyn, to the gritty East Village saga The Understudy, where two lookalike good time girls, lost in addiction, trade places. My favorites were a study in contrasts, Tear Down by Anita Page and Susan Chalfin's Remember You Will Die. In Page's story, an octogenerian in a lower middle class neighborhood,relives the crisis of her youth and a horrific secret. I loved the cranky character and her irony-laced wisdom, a bit like Flannery O'Connor. In a similar way, I was surprised how the voice of Susan Chalfin's moneyed mogul had a touch of Roald Dahl. The dying Mogul gathers family and friends in the Rubin Museum, among the Buddhist art depicting levels of enlightenment, charnel houses and saints, for a champagne toast honoring an existence with a surprising exit. These stories are extraordinary in their quality and variety, a passport to a New York City of the unexpected no tourist--and few natives--has seen.