Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Books: K.J.A. Wishnia

23 Shades of Black (1998) is the debut of a mystery series with one of the most interesting characters around: Filomena Buscarsela. "Fil" was born in a remote village in Ecuador, is a single mother and a New York City cop. She has the tough and somewhat weary attitude of a person who's had to deal with the scum of the earth a few too many times. In this book, her night shift begins by breaking up a scuffle over drugs, responding to a toxic leak at a food-stamp center, and helping a rape victim through the justice system.

Something about that leak doesn't seem right to her, and when Fil finds out that it may have been sabotage and a key witness has died under suspicious circumstances, she decides to investigate on her own time.

Filomena is a breath of fresh air in the noir mystery genre. She sees the United States from an outsider's point of view, and her wisecracking commentary on anything from politics to art to social trends is often laugh-out-loud funny. She loves her daughter to distraction but wants to make detective, so she's constantly trying to give both heartfelt commitments 110%. Fil is one of the most believable female characters written by a male that I've come across.

The series continues with Soft Money (1999), The Glass Factory (2000), Red House (2001) and Blood Lake (2002). K.J.A. Wishnia has written a mystery series that definitely deserves more recognition.

To get more tips on some excellent reading, don't forget to stop by Patti Abbott's blog, Pattinase for her Forgotten Books series!


  1. I've never read any of this series. I made a note of them and will keep an eye out.


  2. I also have never heard of this series but the way your described it I will keep this author in my mind.

  3. I've not heard of this series before either but I've added these titles to my wishlist. Thanks

  4. Sounds a good one to look out for Cathy

  5. I hope you all manage to get your hands on a copy of 23 Shades of Black. I think you'll really enjoy it!


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