Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book: The Wolves of Fairmount Park, by Dennis Tafoya (2010)

Lives and worlds collide outside a dope house in Philadelphia, where two middle-class teenagers miles from home are gunned down. The fathers of both boys – Brendan Donovan, a veteran police officer, and George Parkman, Sr., a businessman who barely knows his son at all – want answers, and think they can be provided by Brendan’s junkie half-brother Orlando, found not far from the scene of the crime.

Dennis Tafoya skillfully weaves together several viewpoints – the grieving parents; Orlando, the wounded outsider seeking connections in every sense; a streetwise detective convinced he’s being played and the dealers who may be playing him – in this dense and satisfying novel. It’s about the bonds between family and friends, discovering which ones are fragile and which are surprisingly durable. There’s real darkness in these pages, which makes the rare break of sunlight that much more brilliant. Fans of Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos would do well to start reading Tafoya.