Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Onion Street"

Reed Farrel Coleman's eighth and latest Moe Prager mystery is Onion Street.

Coleman applied the Page 69 Test to Onion Street and reported the following:
Page 69 of Onion Street is more representative of the tense tone of the novel than of the novel itself.
… He’d won the rabbit’s foot in Coney Island for shooting a red star out of a piece of paper with a BB submachine gun.
The twenty year old Moe Prager sits in his brother’s car, spying on his best friend, Bobby Freidman. As Moe watches, he notices Bobby pull out his key chain and on that chain is that rabbit’s foot. Bobby, whose parents are old school Communists, don’t much care for their son because he likes money. He likes making it and he likes spending it.

As Moe watches, he recalls joking with Bobby about how he’d won the rabbit’s foot.
… “Shooting a red star,” I said. “don’t tell your parents or they’ll send you to Siberia.”

I remember he just kind of laughed, but I think he kept the stupid rabbit’s foot as a kind of Fuck you to his parents...
But there’s nothing funny about what’s happening in pg 69 or in the previous 68 pages. Moe’s girlfriend Mindy, a campus radical, has been beaten into a coma and left to die on the streets of Brooklyn. As she fights for her life in the hospital, Moe is staking out an address which he has been led to believe is somehow connected to the attack on Mindy. Just as he is about to check out the address himself, Moe spots Bobby opening the door to that address. Moe’s head fills with questions. Why is Bobby there? Why does he have keys to the front door? Moe has no answers and does the only thing he can do.
… Bobby was stepping through the white door and closing it behind him. I fought my natural curiosity, sat tight, and waited. My patience was rewarded. Less than five minutes after he went in, Bobby came flying through the white door. His head was on a swivel, turning right, then left, then right again. He was breathless, panting, his chest heaving, but it was the panicked look on his face that really got my attention. Sucking in big gulps of frosty air, blowing staccato clouds of steam out of his mouth, he seemed to be trying to calm himself down before taking another step. Then, after he’d seen that no one was walking his way from either directions, Bobby rushed into his Olds and fishtailed away, smoking his rear tires on the slick pavement at he went.
What had Bobby seen in the apartment? Moe didn’t know, but he was about to find out.
Learn more about the book and author at Reed Farrel Coleman's website.

Writers Read: Reed Farrel Coleman.

--Marshal Zeringue