Old Flame: A Jack­son Steeg Novel

Ira Berkowitz
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012
Jack­son Steeg, a for­mer New York Police Depart­ment detec­tive, is retired after recov­er­ing from a bul­let wound. He is, how­ev­er, still haunt­ed by events from his past: a failed mar­riage, an ongo­ing bat­tle to remain sober, and friends and ene­mies remain­ing from his youth in Hell’s Kitchen. When his for­mer moth­er-inlaw, a vicious woman, demands that he find out who killed his ex-wife’s cur­rent hus­band and seek vengeance, his inner demons start danc­ing. As he digs into the crime, he finds that his old bud­dies in the police depart­ment are strange­ly unin­ter­est­ed in inves­ti­gat­ing. It seems that big mon­ey from city build­ing con­tracts is at stake. As if that weren’t enough, a child­hood friend asks Steeg to help him out. He is deeply in debt to an Israeli crime boss who fright­ens even the Russ­ian Mob. His broth­er Dave wants to help out, but his vio­lent actions may lead to a mob war. This is an excel­lent hard-boiled mys­tery with a won­der­ful por­tray­al of the denizens of Hell’s Kitchen, but it is has lit­tle Jew­ish con­tent oth­er than Steeg’s pas­sion for jus­tice and the shon­de of the Israeli mobsters.
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

Discussion Questions