Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pg. 69: Gary Zebrun's "Hart Island"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Hart Island by Gary Zebrun.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hart Island has served as a potter’s field for more than a century, holding over a million indigent, unclaimed, or unknown New Yorkers’ bodies—and yet it is little-known even among locals. In this absorbing and elegiac story, on this island shaped like a miniature boot of Italy, Gary Zebrun explores overlapping connections of family, crime, sexuality, and human decency.

Driven out of the Coast Guard during the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Sal Cusumano hauls coffins to Hart Island with a burial crew of Rikers Island inmates and guards. Only there can he fully leave his family troubles on Staten Island behind: Justin, his adopted brother and lover; his mother, Ida, slipping rapidly into dementia; the memory of Francesco, his father, a bookie gunned down on his stoop; and his brother Antony, a Manhattan homicide detective moonlighting with the mob. But the island ceases to be his sanctuary after Antony ensnares him—and others—in a crime that involves a nocturnal visit to the potter’s field.

This compelling and intricately plotted novel moves through the shadows as its characters yearn for belonging and forgiveness. Set on the eve of the COVID pandemic, it is part love story, part crime novel, and part mystery.
Visit Gary Zebrun's website.

The Page 69 Test: Hart Island.

--Marshal Zeringue