Saturday, May 29, 2021

Twelve top books about the New York underworld

David Gordon was born in New York City. His first novel, The Serialist, won the VCU/Cabell First Novel Award and was a finalist for an Edgar Award. It was also made into a major motion picture in Japan. His work has also appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Purple, and Fence, among other publications.

[The Page 69 Test: The SerialistThe Page 69 Test: Mystery GirlThe Page 69 Test: White Tiger on Snow MountainWriters Read: David Gordon (August 2019)The Page 69 Test: The Hard StuffQ&A with David Gordon.]

Gordon's new novel, Against the Law, is his third installment in the Joe the Bouncer series.

At CrimeReads he tagged twelve "favorite books about outlaw New York," including:
Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas

A sensation upon publication, this is an autobiographical account of growing up poor and angry in Spanish Harlem in the 50s. Of mixed Puerto Rican and Cuban background, the narrator is darker than his family, who are ashamed of their African heritage. He is poor and exposed at a young age to violence and sex. Drawn into the gang life, he becomes an addict and ends up in prison for armed robbery. Upon his release, he began the “soul-searching” that led to this book. An amazing record of the speech, style, subcultures of the time, it is also extremely current in its concern with the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and poverty. Considered a founding text of Nuyorican literature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue