"A wistful Irish sensibility and memories from a 30-year career as a peace officer in the New York City criminal justice system haunt this solid collection...With spare prose, McLoughlin creates memorable vignettes of urban life. Fans of Kent Anderson's Liquor, Guns & Ammo will want to check this out."
"Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms couldn't be more New York. Tim McLoughlin drops a ton of big-city knowledge and wisdom, rich in lived-in detail, with humor that's hard as the sidewalk."
John Strausbaugh, author of City of Sedition
In Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Tim McLoughlin draws upon his three-decade career in the criminal justice system with his characteristic wit and his fascination with misfits and malfeasance. A lifetime immersed in New York City feeds short stories that evoke a landscape of characters rife with personal arrogance and misjudgment; and nonfiction essays about toeing the line when the line keeps disappearing.
An opioid-addicted catsitter electronically eavesdrops on his neighbors only to hear devastating truths. A degenerate gambler stakes his life on a long shot because he sees three lucky numbers on the license plate of a passing car.
In the nonfiction essays, we learn that the system plays a role in supporting vice, as long as it gets a cut. Altar boys compete to work weddings and funerals for tips in the shadow of predatory priests. Cops become robbers, and a mob boss just might be a civil rights icon. McLoughlin shines a light on worlds that few have access to.
A recurring theme in his urban, often New York–centric work is chronic displacement, people standing still in a city that is always changing. These are McLoughlin’s ghosts, these casualties of progress, and he holds them dear and celebrates them.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Part I Stories
When All This Was Bay Ridge 17
Scared Rabbit 35
Seven Eleven 45
Rubber Gun 57
The Amnesty Box 73
Part II Essays
Ralph and Sam 93
Surfing the Crime Wave 113
Opening Day 127
Maharaja for a Year (1999-2000) 137
Abraham, Martin, and Greg Scarpa 151
Excited Utterances 173
Pimps and Hoes 177