Poisoned Pen Press (2015)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Readers View (5/16)
In “Brooklyn Secrets” by Triss Stein, Erica Donato is working on her dissertation about Brownsville in the 1930’s. Brownsville is a town historically known for organized crime that has remained virtually unchanged. So, when Erica decides she needs to make a trip there she quickly finds that a white woman investigating crime is not welcome.
While taking pictures of the town, Erica comes across the local library where she meets a young woman named Savanna, who befriends her and helps her find some vital missing information. When Erica returns to the library to meet with Savanna again, she is accosted by some gangbanging males, who accuse her of snooping around where she doesn’t belong, and getting close to the “bitch” Savanna. A few days later Savanna is found beaten to near death and left to die.
While this is happening, Erica meets Lillian and Ruby, two childhood friends that are willing to share information with Erica about Brownsville in the ‘30s, but there are certain secrets and information they are not willing to share. Both women are funny and spend a majority of their time calling each other names, but in a loving way.
Erica also finds that her father knows a lot about some of the individuals involved in organized crime, but is not willing to share much information with her. She also finds that Savanna’s mother is someone she knows from her past, and she has great difficulty dealing with her abrasive behavior.
“Brooklyn Secrets” by Triss Stein was a bit hard to read, as there were so many sub-plots and characters, that after a while it got confusing. This reviewer’s interest waned about halfway through the book, but I did finish reading it. The book was well written, don’t get me wrong, however, and it may have helped if I was better acquainted with the author’s writing style and/or read the first two books in the series. The story really seemed focused elsewhere, rather than the intended plot as it read more like a history of Brooklyn.