Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"The Last Honest Man in Brooklyn" by Michele Martinez

From: Hard Boiled Brooklyn, ed. Reed Farrel Coleman, Bleak House Books, 2006.

On a hot, rainy August night, the heroin dealer/snitch known as Kaboom calls for a meet with Narcotics Det, Jimmy Cepeda. On the phone, Kaboom tells Cepeda a white woman, "white skin, white hair, red lipstick...like some kinda movie star ghost," is cooking meth in a Brooklyn project.

Having received bad tips from Kaboom before, Cepeda hesitates. He flashes back to seeing such a woman a year earlier and agrees to meet Kaboom at Coney Island. Kaboom seems very keen to escape detection, but finally he gives Cepeda a Polaroid of the woman, the name "Crystal," and a bar where he might find her.

This is a clever take on the theme, "Things aren't what they seem." I didn't see the turn coming, and gladly read past it to see how far off my first impressions were.

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