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'Long Island Noir': Crime tales hit home

Crime anthology

Crime anthology "Long Island Noir," published Tuesday, is 17 stories of murder, greed and grand theft are set in Long Island communities. Here, one lone light shines from a home in Lake Ronkonkoma. (April 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

In the mood for a little Long Island Noir? (And we don't mean the pinot variety.)

In the new crime anthology "Long Island Noir," published by Brooklyn-based Akashic Books, 17 stories of murder, greed and grand theft are set in Garden City, Mastic Beach, Amagansett and other Long Island communities.

It's the latest in the series that began with 2004's "Brooklyn Noir" and has traveled to Queens, New Jersey and the Bronx.

"People just love the idea of [reading about] crimes in their neighborhoods," says Kaylie Jones, who edited the anthology and contributed a story. The daughter of the late author James Jones ("From Here to Eternity"), she is the author of five novels and is on the faculty at Stony Brook Southampton.

Jones says that a common theme in the stories is the chasm between Long Island's rich and poor. On the island, Jones says, "there's this enormous wealth and waste which is destroying the environment, and the wealth doesn't trickle down." Explains Jones: "The whole collection is connected by greed for something we don't have, and jealousy."

Here are some of the standout stories:


"Home Invasion" by Kaylie Jones

A Hamptons backyard full of marijuana plants, a Colt pistol and a love affair that begins at Montauk's Ditch Plains surfing beach all figure in this entry. Hamptons veterans will get a tinge of nostalgia from a scene set in Bobby Van's, the noted Bridgehampton restaurant, "long before the dark old tavern decided to turn fancy and move across the street."


"Boob Noir" by Jules Feiffer

The Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, who has a home in Southampton, delivers a classic noir setup. Only it's told in Feiffer's famously nervous drawing style with his patented stream-of-consciousness monologue. The plot: A desperate man wonders what to do about the nude body of a woman he's discovered on his bedroom floor. He doesn't quite know how she got there . . . or does he?


"Mastermind" by Reed Farrel Coleman

Low-level thug Jeff Ziegfeld -- aka J-Zig -- has spent time in the Riverhead jail and now lives in a "dank basement apartment in Nesconset." Other settings include a corrupt Selden body shop where J-Zig fences stolen air bags, and one of those ubiquitous gold and jewelry exchanges, where he hopes to find his fortune. The author lives in Suffolk County and has been twice nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America.

Lake Ronkonkoma

"Semiconscious" by Steve Wishnia

Port Jefferson Station

"Blood Drive" by Kenneth Wishnia

Stories by the brothers Wishnia are inspired by the Patchogue murder of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in 2008, Jones says. In "Semiconscious," a reporter for a Suffolk weekly newspaper investigates a hate crime and stumbles into the world of far-right racist websites.

In "Blood Drive," the Lucero murder is the backdrop for a story about a man hard hit by the recession, with references to the Port Jeff Dickens Festival and those towering North Shore power plant smokestacks.

Garden City

"Anjali's America" by Quanta Ahmed M.D.

This is the first published fiction by an associate professor of medicine at Stony Brook University and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Set in an intensive care unit, it tells the parallel stories of two immigrants -- a Pakistani woman in an arranged marriage and the Pakistani doctor who treats her after a near-fatal childbirth. It's based on an actual incident in the author's life, Jones says.


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