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 New Jersey, then Steven Hart’s We All Fall Down is the novel for you. Hart spins a compelling story and shapes his heroine, Karen McCarthy, into a believable woman.

Karen McCarthy is the only female cop on a police force that makes misogyny its battle cry daily, but she holds onto her job and wises up as this mystery unfolds. Running from a fight is not her style. Readers will see quickly that Karen makes mistakes, such as seeking comfort in the wrong places from the wrong men, but they'll root for this young woman nonetheless; she is flawed but seeks justice.

While many of her fellow officers in the book's fictional Jersey town tarnish law enforcement's brass shield, not all the men on the force slip easily into blue-gang mentality and zero in on any evidence of female imperfection. Hart avoids painting a flat landscape of black and white in this dark crime drama, so 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, the reader may nod that some of Hart's seedy characters deserve to die.

At other times, readers may feel themselves fearing for the lives of itchy thieves and risk takers like meth-head Charley Murphy and his loyal girlfriend Noorie. The writing will make attentive readers care. They will also laugh occasionally at the colorful words popping from these characters' mouths. Hart’s shady misfits, wannabe cop kings, and hard-working humans just trying to get by will suck police procedural fans in, and his characters' stories will stick with those readers long after they’ve read the last page of We All Fall Down.

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