23 Shades of Black

The First Book in the Filomena Buscarsela Series


PLOT: This hard-boiled thriller begins by following NYPD cop Filomena Buscarsela through a single evening shift in which she breaks up a scuffle over drugs, responds to a chemical emergency at a food-stamp center, and helps a rape victim limp through the justice system. When Filomena learns that the toxic leak may have been sabotage, and a key witness, an East Village artist, dies in a suspicious accident, she decides to pursue the case on her own, cruising the Alphabet City punk-rock clubs for clues about the artist’s last days, while environmental criminals go unpunished and her personal life begins to crumble. Very noir, as the title suggests, yet laugh-out-loud funny at times as well.

MY COMMENTS: This is the one I broke in with: I wrote this novel on a typewriter in the mountains of Ecuador, switching to a pen whenever the power went out (a persistent problem). I submitted it to agents and editors for nearly ten years before giving up and publishing it myself–only to wake up one morning to find out that it had been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by and American Author! It was also nominated for the Anthony Award. So there.

EXCERPT: From the first chapter of 23 SHADES OF BLACK




“Packed with enough mayhem and atmosphere for two novels.” Booklist

“It’s one hell of a fine book and Filomena is a cool, tough, troubled cop… This is good stuff, political, tough, biting, gutsy, even sensitive.” Harboiled

“A detective novel or sardonic, street-smart humor. Strike back against the boredom of polite mysteries; buy this book.” Sierra Club Book Reviews

“Everything a first mystery should be–hard-boiled, gritty, passionate and raw.” Biblio

“Action is swift in this politically charged thriller.” Midwest Book Review

“Literate… humorous… finely-nuanced writing that will satisfy both genre fans and a wider audience of appreciators of the contemporary novel.” High Times

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