Taut, nuanced, and compelling
Set in the 1970s, O’Keefe’s engrossing historical mixes a hefty dose of grit and violence with mystery and intrigue to create a deliciously dark crime drama. Life in Bushwick Brooklyn is not exactly easy: mafia rules the neighborhood, and businesses are forced to pay regular protection fees. Butchie Bucciogrosso has survived the neighborhood as a young boy, and now a police officer, he is determined to clean the neighborhood. With Fast Eddie Curran, his partner, on his side, Butchie begins his mission. But the Mafia, the dirty Police Department, and a corrupt government stand in the way. O’Keefe’s sharp insights and skill at creating multifaceted, complex characters are in evidence in his construction of the taut plot. The characters’, particularly Butchie, Eddie, and Paddy’s relentless inner struggles form a major part of the plot theme, providing more opportunity for conflict in the story. Butchie’s growth from struggling teen to hard-edged cop makes him a worthy hero. Eddie and Paddy are standouts. Despite the hefty emotional quotient of the story, the novel’s reach doesn’t come at the expense of its psychological depth: there are numerous subplots with multiple storylines, and O’Keefe handles all the intricate plot threads with aplomb. Grit and violence drive the tension-filled narrative, and O’Keefe effortlessly incorporates themes of trauma, physical and psychological abuse, drugs and violence, revenge, and redemption into the affecting narrative. The highly atmospheric setting brings the 1970’s Bushwick Brooklyn to life. With its flesh-and-blood characters, tight pacing, and scrupulous detail, the novel makes for a page-turner. Readers will find it hard to put it down.
A Reckoning in Brooklyn
By Michael O’Keefe
Pub date December 1, 2019
Price $30 (USD) Hardcover, $14.99 Paperback, $3.99 Kindle edition