Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"The Hollow Girl"

Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the “noir poet laureate” in the Huffington Post, Reed Farrel Coleman has published novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, and essays. He has just signed on with Putnam to continue Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series and to begin a new series of his own. Coleman is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the Year and a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three categories. He has also won the Audie, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony awards. He is an adjunct English instructor at Hofstra University and a founding member of MWA University. He lives with his family on Long Island.

Coleman applied the Page 69 Test to The Hollow Girl, the latest novel in the acclaimed Moe Prager series, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Grogan’s Clover was a bullshit joint, a hipsterish papier-mache version of a New York Irish bar. See, here’s what people don’t get about New York City: Manhattan isn’t like the outer boroughs. Not only is it like a different city, it’s like another planet. Only in Manhattan would somebody dream up a scheme to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to recreate something that’s perfectly fine as is.
Page 69 of my final Moe Prager Mystery series, The Hollow Girl is the first page of Chapter Eleven. And if Moe sounds bitter, I’ve done my job. At the beginning of the novel, we find Moe guilty, distraught, and drunk over the death of his fiancee. Moe, who has never been the type of man to give into guilt and alcohol, finally succumbs. He’s just survived stomach cancer and then is dealt this terrible blow. He is rescued from the abyss by a woman from his past. Not a lover, but someone who managed, in her way, to break his heart. It seems this woman’s daughter has gone missing and Moe Prager is the only person she trusts to find the eponymous Hollow Girl. But Moe doesn’t quite trust the motives of this woman from his past nor does he quite believe anyone is actually missing. That is until he stumbles onto a woman’s body in a fashionable Lower Eastside apartment owned by the Hollow Girl. So Moe comes to Grogan’s Clover to get information from the Hollow Girl’s doorman. He gets more than he bargained for, but on page 69, Moe can’t get over the silliness of the bar and the pretense of Manhattan.
Sadly, the vampires who feed the appetites of scruffy hipster ghouls were busy turning parts of my beloved Brooklyn into Manhattan. No thanks. The Brooklyn I love likes itself a half-step behind and a few years out of date. It likes its yearning. The yearning where making it means somewhere across the river, not across Bushwick Avenue. My Brooklyn doesn’t consider its decay ironic or a statement about something bigger. My Brooklyn is what it is, and says that’s enough because it has to be. That’s all there is.
As this is the final book, Moe is necessarily looking back with his head and his heart because the world has shifted under his feet. The world, his world, has changed and done so without asking his permission. This case has to do more than wrap up neatly. This case means an end to a big part of Moe’s life. How big? We’ll see.
Visit Reed Farrel Coleman's website.

Writers Read: Reed Farrel Coleman.

--Marshal Zeringue