by Erica Orloff
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 0778320723
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Mira, May 2004, $12.95, 304 pp.
The violent Irish gang the Westies has ruled in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen for decades. In that world the three O'Neil siblings were raised by an unstable mother who finally killed herself and a father notorious for being THE ROOFER, throwing his enemies off the roof of the tenement buildings. Two of their dad’s cronies helped with caring for the trio. Carol escaped into marriage pretending that her family was not her own. Tom, a cop, remains mentally unsteady. Ava is the core of the next generation, loyal to a fault.
Reporter Jack Casey does a story on their father that brings Hollywood interested in doing a gangster bio. When their dad dies, a murder from the “good old days” resurfaces threatening Ava and Tom. Meanwhile Ava finds herself between the two worlds that of Los Angeles make believe and New York grim reality. She and actor Vince Quinn, who has the role of her father, begin to fall in love, but Tom needs his Ava to survive so she expects nothing permanent to come of this fling plus that homicide still lingers.
THE ROOFER is a fantastic novel but it takes a bit of adjustment to get used to the ultra dark tone of the story line that reflects the mean streets of the city. Ava serves as the center of the tale and somehow keeps it together. Flashbacks tell key events in her life and that of her dad so that fans of urban noir romances will appreciate the contrast between glitter and grim and hopelessness and love in a deep offbeat tale that is not for everyone but is very exciting.
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