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.