Re: RARA-AVIS: philadelphia

From: Joy Matkowski (
Date: 08 Feb 2002

Thanks for the suggestions, Manuel.
    IIRC (new vocabulary!), Lopez came to the Inquirer as a columnist in the early 1980s from California. He liked to follow a scratch kids' baseball team some priest in Camden put together. (Camden--there's a place that's really gritty: poorest city in the country, the residents try to burn it down every Halloween, gateway to the Garden State; it used to have the closest supermarket and Sears for people in Philly, but the stores were shut down, still empty 20 years later the last I looked.)
    I read "Third & Indiana" and liked it. It had a lot of local color--plenty, I guess, if I didn't know Kensington Avenue, Front & Lehigh, Needle Park Public Library, the year the banks disappeared, the bad smack day.
    What's "Sunday Macaroni Club" about? It sounds like South Philly.
    The new one seems to be a mystery, more or less. I apparently require that plot format to be happy with fiction.

Joy, Two-Streeter in the Rizzo years

> You might look at "Third and Indiana" and "The Sunday Macaroni Club" by
Steve Lopez, a former reporter for the Philadephia Inquirer. These are loaded with local color, written by a guy who lived and worked in the city of brotherly love. His new one, set for May publication, is entitled In The Clear. The book description at Amazon says: "Albert LaRosa has spent his whole life just trying to get from yesterday to tomorrow. Born, raised, and now the sheriff of a small New Jersey island town, he was forced back to his hometown of Harbor Light after his shot at the big time as a cop in Philadelphia was destroyed by the events of one dark night. Twenty-five years and one marriage later, it looks as if life might finally give him a break. Albert is offered a job as chief of security at a new casino at a salary he has only dreamed of. Not that his dreams were ever very grand. Of course, not everyone in town is equally happy. Albert can live with the death threats. And the bombing!
> s. Even a dead body provides some professional excitement. He can take
his father's tirades about selling out and he can cope with his girlfriend, Rickie, losing her business--at least he's always been a good friend to her son, Jack. What bothers him is that he might have to arrest one of them for murder."
> Manuel Ramos

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