Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jersey Grit Propels Steven Hart's Novel, We All Fall Down

If you’re in the mood for a well-crafted, gritty page-turner focused on crime and punishment in a New Jersey township, then Steven Hart’s We All Fall Down is the novel for you. Hart has written not only a compelling story but also shaped his heroine, Karen McCarthy, into a believable woman.

Karen McCarthy is the only female cop on a police force determined to make misogyny its battle cry, but she learns and grows as this mystery unfolds because running from a fight is not her style. You’ll see quickly that Karen makes mistakes, such as seeking comfort in the wrong places, but you’ll root for this young woman, nonetheless; she is flawed but seeks justice.

While many of her fellow officers in this fictional Jersey town sully law enforcement's brass shield, not all the men on the force slip easily into a blue-gang mentality or zero in on any evidence of female imperfection. Hart avoids painting a flat landscape of black and white in this dark crime drama, and Karen McCarthy’s world ripples with shades of gray and red. Lots of red. Bodies drop and drop in this thriller, but for the sake of humanity, you’ll nod that some of these characters deserve to die.

At other times, you may feel yourself fearing for the lives of itchy thieves and risk takers like meth-head Charley Murphy and his loyal girlfriend Noorie. The writing will make you care. You will also laugh occasionally at the colorful words coming out of these characters' mouths. Hart’s shady misfits, wannabe cop kings, and hard-working humans just trying to get by will suck you in, and their stories will stick with you a while after you’ve read the last page of We All Fall Down.

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