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A Tale of Three Covers: Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn Chris Vola-small Only the Dead Know Brooklyn Thomas Boyle-small Only the Dead Know Brooklyn Thomas Wolfe-small

Chris Vola is the author of two previous novels, Monkeytown (2012) and the self-published E for Ether. His first mainstream release is the horror/thriller Only the Dead Know Brooklyn, published last month by Thomas Dunne Books.

If the title sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because you’re remembering the crime novel by Thomas Boyle (Cold Stove League, Post Mortem Effects) about the kidnapping of Whitman scholar Fletcher Carruthers III. It was published in hardcover by David R Godine in 1985, and reprinted in paperback by Penguin in 1986.

Or perhaps you’re thinking of the famous short story by Thomas Wolfe (which you can read here), about four guys on a subway platform in a heated discussion on how to get to Bensonhurst, narrated in a thick Brooklyn dialect. It was originally published in the June 15, 1935 New Yorker magazine, and collected in paperback by Signet in 1952 under the same title, with a spectacular cover by Ruth Nappi. To this day, readers are still debating what the story is about.

Whatever the case, you have to admit it’s a killer title, and I can’t blame Vola one bit for poaching it. Here’s the description of his novel.

[Click the images for bigger versions.]

Ryan Driggs has lived in Brooklyn for 128 years, 96 of them as one of the last members of a tribe of blood-eating immortals who have called the borough home since before colonial times. Besides the occasional hard-to-control thirst, his life in the twenty-first century is uneventful, until he meets Jennifer, a human from Manhattan with whom he falls in love.

Unable to leave Brooklyn without reverting back to his original, cancer-stricken human state, Ryan knows he must tell Jennifer who and what he really is. But before he can find the words, she is kidnapped by a tribe of Manhattan vampires―and Ryan discovers that, for a reason unknown to him, he is a target too. After contacting the oldest member of his tribe, a former slave named Frank Lafayette, and after an attempt on their lives that leaves two of Frank’s employees dead, Ryan realizes he’s been thrust into a world that is more dangerous than anything he’d imagined.

As he travels to Manhattan to rescue Jennifer, forsaking his immortality, he gets caught up in a roller coaster of violence, lies, manipulation, and a power struggle that stretches back thousands of years. In a world where conspiracies are more than just theories and where he is the key to an ancient secret, Ryan must decide to fight or forsake both of the species he’s called his own.

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn (2017 edition) was published by Thomas Dunne Books on May 30, 2017. It is 291 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover was designed by David Baldeosimgh Rotstein.

Our previous articles in the Tale of Two Covers series include:

The Last Page by Anthony Huso
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Ellen Kushner on Basilisk
Shadows and Tall Trees 7 edited by Michael Kelly
Alan Baxter’s Crow Shine and Sarah Remy’s The Bone Cave
Swords Against Darkness
Richard Adams’ Watership Down
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, and The Corroding Empire by Johan Kalsi
A Tale of Three Covers: Allen Steele Resurrects Captain Future
Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
Infinity Engine by Neal Asher
Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov

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