From the earliest days of the Republic until the administration of LBJ, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was, proudly, both an arsenal of democracy, in FDR's words, and the creator of 70,000 local jobs. In time it became best known as the scary place New Yorkers had to locate to rescue their impounded cars. And then it came back to life, but not without a war.
A public meeting becomes a battleground over plans to redevelop the once-proud Brooklyn Navy Yard. Local residents clamor for their own agenda in redeveloping 300 acres overlooking a sparkling downtown Manhattan, while business and real estate experts argue and city officials cower. Erica Donato, still writing her PhD dissertation about changes in city neighborhoods, witnesses the shocking murder of a power-broker that night on the Yard's condemned Admirals' Row.
Erica uncovers the dead man's complicated history with the Yard, with his road to wealth and a high-flyer lifestyle, and with his wives and mistresses. When her daughter, Chris, visits her father's relatives for a family history project, Erica goes along, and learns that the Donato clan was involved in the Navy Yard's glory days and its slow, politics-ridden death. The story of Aunt Philomena, tall and blond, one of the proud Brooklyn girls who built ships in the Yard during World War II, captivates her. After the U.S. victory these women were told to give their jobs back to the men coming home. Philomena, so strong, so happy, mysteriously faded away and died young.
Under pressure to drop her chapter on the Naval Yard and finish her PhD dissertation on a final deadline, as well as from the police to step aside for safety, Erica once again discovers "what's past is prologue" to murder...and to her life.
About the Author
Triss Stein is a small-town girl who has spent most of her adult life living and working in New York City. This gives her the useful double vision of a stranger and a resident which she uses to write mysteries about Brooklyn, her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. Brooklyn Wars is the fourth Erica Donato mystery, following Brooklyn Secrets.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Brooklyn Wars” by Triss Stein is not a book that I would typically choose, but the opportunity to learn about the Brooklyn Navy yard intrigued me, and I was not disappointed. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of Brooklyn’s never-ending sagas of land use conflict that pits the demand for development and commerce against the plea for historical preservation. This novel mingles past and present to bring to life to this piece of “land” through the history of the people who worked there. The book is written in the first person voice of historian Erica Donato; conversations and descriptions provide the details about the other characters. Many everyday particulars give the characters depth, and make them come alive, like next-door neighbors. The author uses these characters to intertwine the past and the present and make history personal not just academic. It is a nice assortment of commerce, redevelopment, politics, romance, family drama, rivalry, and history, with a couple of murders thrown in for good measure, but without graphic violence or inappropriate language. Thank you to NetGalley, Poisoned Pen Press and Triss Stein for the opportunity to read and review “Brooklyn Wars.” I really enjoyed the mix of the past and present.