My Bouchercon 2016 panel: The Scene, by Clarence Cooper Jr.
Cooper was a heroin addict who spent much of his short life in prison, and the scene of the novel's title is a neighborhood and a state of being not just controlled but defined by heroin. Cooper may well have written out of firsthand knowledge, but what makes The Scene great are the sympathetic detachment it displays toward its many significant characters, its cunningly fragmented narrative, and its sly allusions to crime fiction conventions.
It takes a gifted writer to get away with all that. It takes a writer at least bordering on great to get away with all that and make it serve the story the novel has to tell. It's early days yet, but The Scene may be my crime fiction discovery of the year.
|Poster by Jon Jordan|
© Peter Rozovsky 2016