||Kenneth Wishnia, author of the Filomena Buscarsela series of crime fiction, will be appearing with his brother, author of When the Drumming Stops on the first stop of The Brothers in Crime Tour .
The first novel in the series of five books, 23 Shades of Black, is socially conscious crime fiction. It takes place in New York City in the early 1980s, i.e., the Reagan years, and was written partly in response to the reactionary discourse of the time, when the current thirty-year assault on the rights of working people began in earnest, and the divide between rich and poor deepened with the blessing of the political and corporate elites. But it is not a political tract, it’s a kick-ass novel that was nominated for the Edgar and the Anthony Awards, and made Booklist’s Best First Mysteries of the Year.
The heroine, Filomena Buscarsela, is an immigrant who experienced tremendous poverty and injustice in her native Ecuador, and who grew up determined to devote her life to helping others. She tells us that she really should have been a priest, but since that avenue was closed to her, she chose to become a cop instead. The problem is that as one of the first Latinas on the NYPD, she is not just a woman in a man’s world, she is a woman of color in a white man’s world. And it’s hell. Filomena is mistreated and betrayed by her fellow officers, which leads her to pursue a case independently in the hopes of being promoted to detective for the Rape Crisis Unit.
Along the way, she is required to enforce unjust drug laws that she disagrees with, and to betray her own community (which ostracizes her as a result) in an undercover operation to round up illegal immigrants. Several scenes are set in the East Village art and punk rock scene of the time, and the murder case eventually turns into an investigation of corporate environmental crime from a working-class perspective that is all-too-rare in the genre.
The second book in the series, Soft Money, will be available in January 2013.
The Brothers in Crime are coming to Boston with novels set in the grit of New York City’s old Lower East Side. Steven Wishnia, author of WHEN THE DRUMMING STOPS (2012, Manic D Press, $15; e-book $9.99) and Kenneth Wishnia, author of 23 SHADES OF BLACK (2012, PM Press, $17.95; e-book: $4.99) will read on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2-4 p.m. at Tres Gatos, 470 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, MA.
WHEN THE DRUMMING STOPS explores the reunion of a Lower East Side punk band, its aging members facing their old arguments, memories of a scene gone by, and the passion that still lives inside them. Though Steven says the book is “not autobiographical,” it draws on his experiences as bassist in the 1980s punk band False Prophets. (He has since worked as a journalist, including a stint as news editor of High Times.)
“Wishnia’s novel is about relationships that hold our dreams, and losses that can consume us: body, mind, and soul.”
—San Francisco Examiner
Kenneth Wishnia’s recently reissued 23 SHADES OF BLACK is a psychological thriller that follows a Latina police officer from the underside of the East Village art-music scene to high-rise Wall Street offices as she tries to solve a murder her bosses don’t want to be bothered with. Its crackling action and scathing humor got it nominated for two major crime-fiction awards when Kenneth self-published the original version in 1998. He is also the author of the award-winning historical novel The Fifth Servant (William Morrow).
These two novels bring readers well-crafted characters, intriguing storytelling, and vivid depictions of an iconic time in New York’s history. Join us as the BROTHERS IN CRIME tour comes to Massachusetts.