Edgy, electrifying and dark—a riveting debut
A Beautiful Woman, Missing
New York City, 2005. Thanksgiving weekend. A topless Kate Moss peers down from a billboard over rain-spattered Houston Street. Escaping a troubled past, Francesca Pena came to the city and reinvented herself. At New York University, her beauty and charisma are the envy of her privileged pals, yet none knows the real Francesca—who, after a night of drinking, is now missing.
A High-Stakes Gamble
Detective Darlene O'Hara of the Seventh Precinct and her partner, Serge "K." Krekorian, set out to find Pena. But when the case turns high-profile and Homicide is called in, O'Hara—who has an eighteen-year-old son she saddled with the name Axl Rose O'Hara, and whose binge drinking exacerbates the massive chip on her shoulder—refuses to let go. Risking both her and K.'s careers, she defies NYPD brass and Homicide legend Patrick Lowry to secretly pursue her own investigation.
A Desperate Chase—and a Chilling Twist
Following a deadly trail that leads from NYU's ivory towers to Brooklyn tattoo parlors, from a skanky strip club to a whitewashed boutique run by a Korean madam, O'Hara closes in on her prey. But she has to move fast, because Lowry and the NYPD are about to make a devastating mistake that will leave the real killer free.
The Story Behind Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge
Before I conceived any aspect of Shadows Still Remain, I sat and rode around with NYPD detectives. Both the story and cast were shaped by the men and women, I was lucky enough to spend time with. This is also true of the setting. I recalled that a former colleague had married a cop who had worked out of the 7, the Lower East Side precinct just south of the East Village between Houston and Chinatown. One afternoon he brought me down to the station house at 19 ½ Pitt Street and escorted up the stairs to the second floor detective room, where Darlene O’Hara in the opening pages of Shadows Still Remain is enjoying a solitary Thanksgiving. When I arrived, the three man detective team was, like her, finishing their lunch at the filthy table at the back of the room. The retired cop explained what I had in mind, and to my surprise, no one objected.
For the next couple months, I often joined them on their shifts, passing myself off as the passive taciturn member of the team. When they went into the projects to talk to victims or witnesses or make an arrest, I stood beside, or better yet behind them, my only responsibility not to say or do anything that exposed me as an imposter and coward. On house calls, I pretended not to be scared. When we went to bars, I pretended I could drink.
Some of the book’s locations, like NYU’s Bobst Library, where O’Hara reads the victim’s transcripts and quickly comes to feel proprietary about the peace and quiet, were as new to me as O’Hara. Others were deeply personal. For example, 251 Fort Washington Avenue, at the top of Manhattan in Washington Heights, where Consuela Entonces lives with her daughters, is the building my father lived in as a teenager. Now it’s a Dominican neighborhood. Then it was filled with recently arrived German Jews like him. Location-wise, I only took a couple liberties. I invented a condo in progress on the west side of Rivington Park, called “Atelier," and a tiny boutique offering an absurdly minimal selection of merchandise called “eeL,” and as far as I know there is no Brooklyn tattoo parlor named “Bad Idea Tattoos.”
One reason I opened Shadows Still Remain at the end of 2005 rather than the fictional present, was to show the merciless dispatch with which New York’s Darwinian economy makes over the face of the city and at the same time try to protect the book from seeming obsolete before it got in your hands. On Thanksgiving Eve, 2005 when Francesca Pena climbs out of the subway onto Bleeker Street, Tower Records loomed over the neighborhood, running from Broadway to the far side of Lafayette. Now of course, along with many other retailers Pena passes that night, it’s long gone. Washington Square Park, whose grubbiness stood out in contrast to the affluence of the NYU campus that surrounds it is in the midst of a multi-million dollar makeover and the anomalous little Howard Johnson Express Inn where Darlene O’Hara spends a couple highly productive days and nights, has a new façade and name The Gem Hotel. The rooms haven’t changed however, and if you’re eager to spend a couple nights in the Lower East Side, you might want to consider it. I gave them a call and their prices are still the cheapest in the neighborhood.
Photographs from Shadows Still Remain (Click to Enlarge)
|Pitt Street, 7th Precinct:|
Detective Darlene O’Hara, the heroine of Shadows Still Remain is a 34-year-old detective who works out of the 7th Precinct. The station house, located in the shadow of the ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge, looks out the bleakest corridor of the Lower East Side and has the curiously exact address of 19 1/2 Pitt Street.
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|Lower East Side Bar: |
In the course of verifying an alibi for a murder suspect, O’Hara discovers her new favorite dive bar in a basement off First Avenue and 5th Street. O’Hara instantly likes way the place looks, but mainly likes what she hears--Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Zeppelin--the shimmering metal of her misspent youth.
|Orchard Street: |
My wife took these pictures one afternoon this winter. This shot, looking north up Orchard, somehow captures the old ghosts of the Lower East Side. If it wasn’t for the sign for the ATM, you could be looking at a photo from the early 1900s.
|Rivington Street: |
This is the view from the second floor bar of the Rivington Hotel, where, in a critical juncture, O’Hara meets her partner Serge “K” Krekorian. K chooses the location because he’s quite sure no cops would ever set foot in such a trendy spot.
This is the window of a tattoo parlor on Stanton Street, just east of Essex. One night O’Hara discovers just how many tattoo parlors there are in lower Manhattan, and can’t believe there’s enough empty downtown skin left to go around.
De Jonge, a James Patterson coauthor (Beach Road
), delivers his first solo effort, a routine crime thriller set in New York City. NYPD Det. Darlene O'Hara, beautiful and thirty-four, with wavy red hair and the kind of freckles men try to lick off shoulders, is looking for missing NYU student Francesca Pena, a very pretty teenage girl with long jet-black hair and bottomless brown eyes, when she learns that Pena's brutally beaten body has been found in East River Park. While her professional colleagues soon focus on David McLain, Pena's hometown friend who initially reported her missing, O'Hara doubts McLain is guilty. As the evidence against McLain mounts, she persists in her search for the real killer, a quest that leads her to cross lines, risk her job and become a wanted person herself. Predictably, O'Hara's digging reveals Pena had a secret life. Few readers will be surprised that the detective manages to crack the case in the nick of time. (Apr.)
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