The Glass Fac­to­ry: A Filom­e­na Bus­carsela Mystery

  • Review
By – December 17, 2013

This book is the third in a con­tin­u­ing series of social­ly con­scious crime nov­els,” with the street-smart fire­brand Lati­na lead­ing lady, Filom­e­na Bus­carsela, as an ex-NYPD cop turned pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor. Filom­e­na has expe­ri­enced pover­ty and injus­tice in her native Ecuador and expect­ed her new home to be very dif­fer­ent. Through­out this series, which began with 23 Shades of Black and con­tin­ued with Soft Mon­ey, Filom­e­na, a sin­gle moth­er, deals with gen­der and racial inequal­i­ty as she tries to do her job effec­tive­ly, hop­ing to rise up in the ranks. She attempts to solve a com­pli­cat­ed case of cor­po­rate envi­ron­men­tal crimes almost sin­gle­hand­ed­ly and gets her­self into trou­ble by brazen­ly voic­ing exact­ly what’s on her mind and nev­er tak­ing no for an answer. In this sto­ry our hero­ine is fac­ing can­cer, a result of her unfor­tu­nate encounter with harsh chem­i­cals in the first sto­ry of the series. 

The nov­el is set part­ly in sub­ur­ban Suf­folk Coun­ty, Long Island, where author Ken Wish­nia resides. His insights and wise­crack­ing about the local cul­ture and geog­ra­phy through his pro­tag­o­nist are right on the mark for this Long Island read­er. Wish­nia knows plen­ty about Filomena’s South Amer­i­can back­ground as well, since he is mar­ried to an Ecuado­ri­an and has spent sig­nif­i­cant time there. 

Wish­nia is right on tar­get with his character’s insis­tence on get­ting to the source of our pol­lut­ed water. With tox­ic under­ground plumes and over­bur­dened sewage sys­tems along with a one- in-nine breast can­cer rate head­lin­ing our local press, it’s reas­sur­ing that at least one fic­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tor is on the case. Wishnia’s book reminds us that get­ting cor­po­ra­tions to look into their own car­bon foot­prints is crit­i­cal to the solu­tion and to our survival.

Though she is ill, the irre­press­ible Filom­e­na is deter­mined to solve the case and get her revenge on the perps. She calls them mur­der­ers, those busi­ness tycoons whose employ­ees are unknow­ing­ly at dai­ly dire risk, some dying from their lethal work envi­ron­ment. While on the chase, she dates a cou­ple of the male char­ac­ters. One turns out to be a nice Jew­ish doc­tor. Unbe­liev­ably this turn of events isn’t too schmaltzy, since our girl Filom­e­na is way too tough for that. I look for­ward to the next episode in this fast paced series which deals with heavy top­ics in a humor­ous way.

Book Trail­er

The Glass Fac­to­ry by Ken­neth Wish­nia Book Trail­er from cospro­duc­tions on Vimeo.

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams is a Cuban-born, Brook­lyn-raised, Long Island-resid­ing mom. She is Hadas­sah Nas­sau’s One Region One Book chair­la­dy, a free­lance essay­ist, and a cer­ti­fied yoga instruc­tor who has loved review­ing books for the JBC for the past ten years.

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