3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
There is a known saying in Swahili that the war between two grasshoppers is the crow’s happiness. This idea might form one of the premises of The Darkness at Delancey Street, a crime thriller by Martin H. Zuckerman. Following the end of the Second World War, a Jewish family goes back to Belarus after seeking refuge from Hitler in Sweden. The abuse of their mother causes Yankel Tischman and his brother Shimon to avenge this injustice perpetrated by a formidable foe; subsequently, they have to flee again. In the new world, life takes a different trajectory.
The story is an intriguing entanglement of several puzzles that need to be solved. It is a brilliant weaving of crime with other themes like family and love. Fortunately, the author straightforwardly presents each; you will certainly not be confused. The situation becomes clear as the story progresses. In the fullness of time, what had been obscure previously becomes clearer. In the end, you have a satisfying ending, though a few questions remain, which make you try to piece some scenes together. However, the central conflict is solved impressively.
Some characters settled on crime, while circumstances forced others. Eventually, none of them chooses the consequences of their decisions. Andy Hizzell feels it is too much, but getting out carries far-reaching implications. The internal turmoil represents what some characters have to fight with as they battle with their consciences. Through the ongoing mental dilemma, the author makes them realistic and relatable.
I like the factor that the author successfully hides the motives and affiliations of some players, disclosing them at the right time. The Agency, a powerful secret organization, advances its only agenda unbeknownst to anyone. Its agents, George, Mary, and Murray, are on deployment, leaving no trace behind. In the fullness of time, the players involved appear in the limelight. Their interests are made known. Who remains standing, in the end, requires strategy, immense power, and invisibility.
There was too much telling, sort of reporting, in the beginning, and I did not enjoy reading these parts, as the events and characters felt distant and lacked vivacity. I could not stop thinking that the narration felt like an indirect reporting of events. The dialogues were sparse and very brief, making the narration uninteresting. Luckily, this changed towards the middle of the book, and I was immersed in the story henceforth. I did not have to struggle, for the story had taken another turn where the preceding humdrum was gone.
I rate the book three out of four because of the monotony in the first chapters and a couple of minor errors that I encountered. It will appeal to readers of crime thrillers aged sixteen and above. The cuss words in the book will not detract anyone from enjoying the story, as they were sparingly employed.
The Darkness at Delancey Street
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon