A Washington Post Book World “Rave” Book of the Year

Red House

FIRST SHE WAS A BEAT COP, then she was unemployed. Now, Kenneth Wishnia’s dynamic Filomena Buscarsela has apprenticed herself to a New York City PI firm to put in the three years necessary to get her own PI license, which she needs to earn enough money to support herself and her daughter. Trouble is, she often agrees to take on sticky neighborhood cases pro bono—like the group of squatters restoring an abandoned building in the neighborhood—rather than handle the big-bucks clients her bosses would prefer.

While helping out her more “senior” colleagues with her own superior investigative techniques bred from years on the beat, Fil agrees to look into the disappearance of a young immigrant. Then, witnessing the arrest of a neighbor on marijuana-possession charges that nearly turns into a shoot-out with the police, Fil is roped into finding out what went wrong. Trying to balance charity cases like these with bread-and-butter cases, not to mention single motherhood, Fil is quickly in over her head dodging bullish cops, aggressive businessmen, and corrupt landlords in their working-class Queens neighborhood. She pours on her Spanish, her clever tricks, and her battle-tested charms to uncover a labyrinth of deceit, racial prejudice, and bureaucracy that not only rocks her neighborhood but also threatens the foundation of the big red house that is this PI’s America.

 Red House is the fourth of Kenneth Wishnia’s novels featuring the irrepressible Filomena Buscarsela. All five—including 23 Shades of Black, Soft Money, The Glass Factory, and Blood Lake—are being reissued by PM Press in definitive editions with new introductions and extra stories. His latest novel is the award-winning historical mystery The Fifth Servant.

“Smart dialogue, a realistic and gritty depiction of New York, and the sensitive exploration of environmental, racial, and economic issues make this another great read in an energetic series.”
Booklist

“An engaging character with . . . a wry sense of humor. The jam-packed plot makes for an exciting story.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Wishnia’s] word play is as sharp as his social conscience, and he has created a wonderfully intelligent and human voice for his protagonist. She can move from angry to funny to obscene in a handful of sentences, then climb back out of the gutter to take on the big boys again without hesitation. If only Buscarsela were real, the world would be a better place.”
The Washington Post

“She puts [other] female sleuths way in the shade.”
The Times (St. Petersburg, FL)

“Wishnia delivers well-developed characters with sharp, realistic dialogue. Red House shines when it depicts the gritty, uncaring urban jungle.”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Complex, tough and sharp, a witty, attractive and sometimes audacious narrator, she seems at times a bit larger than life. And in her case, that’s fitting.”
The Drood Review of Mystery

 

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