don't like to get too anthropological about crime fiction, and Steven Torres
is a novelist, not a social scientist. Still, Torres' position as a member of at least two worlds (he was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, moved back to Puerto Rico, then came back to New York) probably makes it easier for him to look across cultural borders and ask, "Why?" Here's one such bit from The Concrete Maze
"`Why is cockfighting illegal?' he asked. `We eat chickens anyway.' I didn’t have an answer for him. In fact, I didn’t have a single word for him, but that didn’t stop him.”
That's not all there is to Torres in the almost two books of his I've read in recent days. More than most crime writers, Torres has his protagonists try to imagine what it's like to walk a mile in the other fellow's shoes. Here's a bit from Death in Precinct Puerto Rico
"In her mind, he sat in a dejected state, as many prisoners sit in prison when they begin to feel what they have done."
And, though his books are not comic, Torres' eye for detail in the fictional Puerto Rican town of Angustias will elicit smiles, as here when, out of space in the tiny station-house jail and the municipal office, Sheriff Luis Gonzalo has a deputy resort to an emergency alternative to hold a suspect:
"Vargas walked his man up the center aisle of the church, stopping to genuflect with his prisoner before the altar as he headed towards the back of the church where the offices were."
© Peter Rozovsky 2012
Labels: Manhattan, New York, Puerto Rico, Steven Torres, the Bronx