Dark Passages: Real Estate Noir
My newest column for the Los Angeles Times looks specifically at Justin Peacock’s new novel BLIND MAN’S ALLEY and at the seeming dearth of crime fiction centered around real estate. Here’s how the piece opens:
Though I write for this West Coast newspaper, I live in New York City.
That means, like a lot of dwellers of the five boroughs, I spend a
disproportionate amount of time thinking about real estate, whether
griping about too-high rents for tiny apartments or the erection of
another steel-heavy skyscraper in my neighborhood. Walking underneath
scaffolding, zigzagging through hastily constructed passageways and
watching the work of those awe-inspiring cranes brings to mind other
salient points about the making of buildings: construction delays,
unfortunate accidents and financial mismanagement. And all of those
ingredients seem a natural for mysteries and thrillers.
Indeed, the inner workings of real estate deals provide juicy plot
points for many a crime novel, but somehow writers seem to shy away from
making this business their primary focus — or readers don’t gravitate
toward this particular professional subject…[b]u another entry into the miniscule “real estate noir” category, however,
might stand the best chance of opening up this wonderfully byzantine
world to a larger audience, largely because the author frames this world
in the context of other career paths well-familiar to the crime fiction
reader: lawyers, journalists, and cops.”
Read on for the rest, and what other books should I have mentioned that deal with this very New York-centric topic?