In William Boyle’s debut novel,
, Ray Boy Calabrese has just been released from prison after serving sixteen years for his part in the death of Duncan D’Innocenzio. Duncan’s brother, Conway, is stuck in the past and set on revenge, but isn’t sure he has it in him to murder Ray Boy. Two other major players in this Brooklyn drama are Alessandra, a failed actress who has just returned home from LA to take care of her widowed father, and Eugene, Ray Boy’s 15-year-old nephew, who is set on following in his uncle’s criminal footsteps.
The neighborhood is at the center of this novel, and Boyle really captures life in the New York boroughs, the weird mix of urban poverty and gritty small-townness. The novel opens at a firing range in a warehouse next to an abandoned textile company: “From the outside it looked like the kind of place where…