Most helpful positive review
on January 14, 2004
A friend recommended this book to me sometime ago, with rave reviews, but I put off reading it. It turned out to be a rare treat. Before returning to Italy, I spent a number of years in North Beach, and Stansberry has it right, the big and the small, from the idiosyncratic spellings of the Italian American names to the community's nostalgia for a time that never truly existed. He understands the neighbhorhood--and the people who lived there (or did once upon a time) and the underlying murder story is both suspenseful and lyric in the fashion of the noir writers of the forty's and fifties. You won't get Michael Conoley style thrill a minute here, but Stansberry is ultimately a better writer, with a more subtle agenda, and the book is truly gripping. Among affeciondos of the noir genre, this book has the reputation as a small canvas masterpiece--and in my opinion this is a reputation well-deserved. My only question: When are we going to get more from books from this talented writer?