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Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, and while his deepest desire is to keep his little makeshift family safe, that doesn't stop him from taking advantage of their talents. Shecky moves money for an array of unsavory clients, and Henry, volatile and violent but tenderhearted, is his bagman. Kerasha, the famed former child-thief of Bushwick, Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, and while his deepest desire is to keep his little makeshift family safe, that doesn't stop him from taking advantage of their talents. Shecky moves money for an array of unsavory clients, and Henry, volatile and violent but tenderhearted, is his bagman. Kerasha, the famed former child-thief of Bushwick, is still learning the family trade, but her quick mind and quicker fingers are already being put to use. They love one another, but trust is thin when secrets are the family trade. And someone will be coming for that missing money--soon.


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Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, and while his deepest desire is to keep his little makeshift family safe, that doesn't stop him from taking advantage of their talents. Shecky moves money for an array of unsavory clients, and Henry, volatile and violent but tenderhearted, is his bagman. Kerasha, the famed former child-thief of Bushwick, Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, and while his deepest desire is to keep his little makeshift family safe, that doesn't stop him from taking advantage of their talents. Shecky moves money for an array of unsavory clients, and Henry, volatile and violent but tenderhearted, is his bagman. Kerasha, the famed former child-thief of Bushwick, is still learning the family trade, but her quick mind and quicker fingers are already being put to use. They love one another, but trust is thin when secrets are the family trade. And someone will be coming for that missing money--soon.

30 review for The Nightworkers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Shecky Keenan lives from terror to terror. He heads a family of three, glued-together misfits. Their game: money laundering in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York. Why move money for an unsavory clientele? In Shecky's words, "Profit from the two heavies tomorrow means a mortgage payment for the family". Shecky is worried..."a shadow haunts his home". Uncle Shecky was used to the dark side of life, an unnurtured existence with no one to look after him. He was determined to love and look out Shecky Keenan lives from terror to terror. He heads a family of three, glued-together misfits. Their game: money laundering in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York. Why move money for an unsavory clientele? In Shecky's words, "Profit from the two heavies tomorrow means a mortgage payment for the family". Shecky is worried..."a shadow haunts his home". Uncle Shecky was used to the dark side of life, an unnurtured existence with no one to look after him. He was determined to love and look out for Henry Vek , his nephew and Kerasha Brown, his niece. This included home cooked family dinners. Shecky, however, had his agenda, ongoing plans to immerse Henry and Kerasha into the money laundering fold. Henry Vek, now 23 years old, had been living with Shecky and learning his trade since age 10. Henry, a brawler at school has..."grown into his anger". "Henry has artistic aspirations, the opposite of good business sense...responsible...willing to start fights...". Kerasha Brown, 21 years old, is "fresh out of the cage" having been jailed for six years. "Kerasha is famous in Bushwick's underworld...no room she can't get out of, no person she can't get past...". Emil Scott, a budding artist, attends an art opening and meets Henry. Henry is taken with Emil. Emil has "yellow on his hands...purple on his pants-this is a worker". "If Emil is maybe 90 percent artist and 10 percent criminal, Henry is the same, only with the proportions reversed". Henry teaches Emil the ins and outs of being a runner. "It's simple. You pick up, you drop off, and I'll pay you...I will keep you in the dark...Ignorance is deniability". Emil is ready for his first big pick-up. Uncle Shecky is distressed. "A runner must be dependable, but they should also be expendable...forget likeable...what you want is useable". Henry's disregard of Shecky's warning will have ramifications. Where is Emil and the $250,000 in dirty money he was carrying" "Did something bad happen to Emil...or did something bad happen because of him?" "The Nightworkers" by Brian Selfon is a Brooklyn Noir crime novel written from the point of view of a criminal, money laundering family. Uncle Shecky, Henry, and Kerasha each carry the scars of turbulent, violent upbringings. They have personal demons wrecking havoc on their lives. Kerasha knows "the power of the urge...you can't fight it. You're the vehicle, and something wicked does the steering". Will the urge define each one of them? Author Selfon, having worked as an investigative analyst for New York law enforcement, has written a multi-layered analysis of criminals in crisis and a compelling snapshot of a small time money laundering business. An excellent debut novel. Thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux, MCD, and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Emil is a talented up-and-coming Brooklyn artist but perennially broke. So when he meets Henry, another wannabe artist, and is offered a gig being a runner for money laundering, he decides that’s an easier way of making cash instead of slinging baggies of dope - until he suddenly disappears along with a quarter million in cash. Henry and his small crime family have to figure out what happened and where the cash has gone before the money’s owners come looking for it… Brian Selfon’s debut novel Th Emil is a talented up-and-coming Brooklyn artist but perennially broke. So when he meets Henry, another wannabe artist, and is offered a gig being a runner for money laundering, he decides that’s an easier way of making cash instead of slinging baggies of dope - until he suddenly disappears along with a quarter million in cash. Henry and his small crime family have to figure out what happened and where the cash has gone before the money’s owners come looking for it… Brian Selfon’s debut novel The Nightworkers is really two and a half stories, only one of which is half-decent. The half-decent story starts well - Emil and Henry’s new friendship, it develops nicely, there’s the twist. The problem is that the start of the book is the peak - everything afterwards is downhill. The second story is about Kerasha, a troubled young woman on parole with a heroin addiction. We learn about her horrible childhood, junkie mother, and weird, burgeoning obsession with her shrink, Dr Xu - only none of it matters. You could excise Kerry’s entire story and it wouldn’t affect the main narrative of the missing money and the trouble surrounding it. It’s not very interesting to read in itself, it pointlessly distracts and only makes the novel overlong. The half story is about Officer Montenegro, a victim of human trafficking turned cop/fighter of human trafficking. Like Kerry’s story, Montenegro’s could easily be cut as it hasn’t got any relevance to anything, is grimly dull and pads out the novel still further without adding much besides pages. I liked the character of Uncle Shecky, who’s a sort of modern-day Fagin with a heart, and Henry was interesting for the most part as he’s something of a livewire with a chip on his shoulder. Then add his upset feelings at Emil and he becomes this unpredictable Tazmanian devil so there was always an element of tension wherever he went. The novel was mostly well-written and there were a number of moments in the main narrative that were genuinely gripping to read. Selfon’s got a lot of potential as a crime novelist and might write a great novel one day but The Nightworkers isn’t that great novel - it’s too unfocused and messy, lacking anything substantial to sink your teeth into to be satisfying. If he had cut Kerry and Montenegro’s stuff and stuck with and dug deeper into Henry/Emil/Shecky’s narrative, this would be a strong novella, but, as it is, it’s too long by half and made dreary and boring for it. A weak debut.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Reeve

    Brooklyn artist Emil Scott has been supplementing his income running dirty money for a family of money launderers. He's been enjoying the gig. It's safer than peddling fentanyl, his former side hustle; his boss is a friend and also an aspiring artist; and the job gets him outside, where he marvels at the vibrant images everywhere around him. But now Emil has disappeared, along with the $250K in drug money he was carrying. Suspects abound, from drug dealers to police officers, but the book's prim Brooklyn artist Emil Scott has been supplementing his income running dirty money for a family of money launderers. He's been enjoying the gig. It's safer than peddling fentanyl, his former side hustle; his boss is a friend and also an aspiring artist; and the job gets him outside, where he marvels at the vibrant images everywhere around him. But now Emil has disappeared, along with the $250K in drug money he was carrying. Suspects abound, from drug dealers to police officers, but the book's primary suspense is how the disappearance will affect the family of money launderers. And what a fascinating family they are! Even if you have no interest in crime novels, this book is worth reading just to meet Shecky Keenan, head of the family, and his niece and nephew. Shecky is an indelible character -- clearly a crook but someone who loves his niece and nephew desperately, painfully, unwisely. Niece Kerasha is recently paroled, a thief and an addict trying to surface the want inside her that drives her to steal and use. And nephew Harry is the bagman, the muscle, who wants something more for himself, who cared blindly about Emil. I was hoping for more detail about the money laundering and how the family evaded the many controls and restrictions on cleaning cash. (There's a throwaway comment about seeking out banks that don't check ID and post offices that rubber-stamp money orders, which seemed like a cop out.) The probable culprit was apparent early on, and some of the plot points and their reveal seemed strained. Though I appreciated the detailed backstory for all the characters, I got tired of people quoting Sophocles and Whitman and mooning about their artistic and acting ambitions. Still, this is an accomplished and compelling debut novel, and I look forward to the next book by this author. Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bookmarked by Liz

    I don't know where to really start with this book. I really liked it at first! It was gritty, dark, and mysterious. But then it kept taking, in my opinion, unnecessary turns. I hated the Kerasha story line. I didn't see how that connected at all. Then, in the end, they barely resolved the main mystery (someone dies) and it just ends. I wanted to like this ARC but now that I'm done I think what I liked most about it was the cover art. Such a bummer as I'd never really read anything in the money l I don't know where to really start with this book. I really liked it at first! It was gritty, dark, and mysterious. But then it kept taking, in my opinion, unnecessary turns. I hated the Kerasha story line. I didn't see how that connected at all. Then, in the end, they barely resolved the main mystery (someone dies) and it just ends. I wanted to like this ARC but now that I'm done I think what I liked most about it was the cover art. Such a bummer as I'd never really read anything in the money laundering world and thought it could be a fresh take on the normal "wife gets murdered/goes missing" mystery I usually gravitate towards.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Doris

    Dreadful story, I do not enjoy reading rambling thoughts of a drug addicted young woman.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ron Feldman

    This book is a rare combination of a crime thriller that actually reads like literature. There is true depth to the characters and their relationships that enhances the story. It also viscerally takes you inside the Brooklyn neighborhoods where it is set and deep into lives of people you may not have had the opportunity to know. The book manages to incorporate money laundering, art, poetry, theater, cooking and even international human trafficking. All the while, the characters and their relatio This book is a rare combination of a crime thriller that actually reads like literature. There is true depth to the characters and their relationships that enhances the story. It also viscerally takes you inside the Brooklyn neighborhoods where it is set and deep into lives of people you may not have had the opportunity to know. The book manages to incorporate money laundering, art, poetry, theater, cooking and even international human trafficking. All the while, the characters and their relationships with each other are what ties everything together. Can't believe this is a first time author, I can't wait to see what he writes next.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I don’t read crime novels. But this happens to be literary fiction masquerading as a crime novel. The writing is lovely and the humor is terrific and even touching at times. I sense Selfon has much more to share with us outside of this genre.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book started out great but did not sustain. Seldom has great potential as a literary crime author. The beginning of the book started out as a crime thriller andI was hooked. But then they got too be too much back and forth in time in connection epithet the narrative. One scene followed by another scene that took place a half hour early. And too many background digressions. The ironic thing is Selfon has it in him to be really good. I think his next book should be a bit more linear and focus This book started out great but did not sustain. Seldom has great potential as a literary crime author. The beginning of the book started out as a crime thriller andI was hooked. But then they got too be too much back and forth in time in connection epithet the narrative. One scene followed by another scene that took place a half hour early. And too many background digressions. The ironic thing is Selfon has it in him to be really good. I think his next book should be a bit more linear and focused.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    My opinions and impressions of THE NIGHTWORKERS were all over the place for a great deal of the story. Nearly all of the characters were fascinating and fully realized within a paragraph or two, but they disappeared all too quickly. Taken in parts, Brian Selfon’s debut may have its occasional weaknesses, but as a whole it is one of the best novels of the year thus far. The book is about a family of criminals, but this isn’t one of your grand-concept Corleone stories. The family here moves great s My opinions and impressions of THE NIGHTWORKERS were all over the place for a great deal of the story. Nearly all of the characters were fascinating and fully realized within a paragraph or two, but they disappeared all too quickly. Taken in parts, Brian Selfon’s debut may have its occasional weaknesses, but as a whole it is one of the best novels of the year thus far. The book is about a family of criminals, but this isn’t one of your grand-concept Corleone stories. The family here moves great sums of money from criminal enterprises to offshore banks and back again. The head of the three-person unit is Shecky Keenan, who prepares large family breakfasts for his nephew Henry and niece Kerasha. The familial ties are beginning to stretch as the novel kicks off. Henry, who is in his early 20s, is an integral part of Shecky’s business, managing the physical transfer of large amounts of cash to places where it can be quietly offloaded. He is an aspiring artist who is attracted to Emil, a rising star on the New York art scene. Emil, whose income has not quite caught up to his reputation, keeps body and soul together by doing a bit of dealing on the side, and Henry recruits him as a runner. Two things happen: the intricate system that Shecky has created begins to collapse, and Emil suddenly disappears after picking up a deposit. Whether or not these incidents are connected is an unresolved element for a good portion of the book. Henry also has acquired an extremely dangerous girlfriend who is a treacherous combination of sweet and sour and is slowly bending him to her own purposes. Kerasha is a more complicated soul. She is a recovering heroin addict who has been conditionally released from prison. Her major talent is an almost preternatural ability to burglarize, which ultimately resulted in her incarceration. Part of the condition for her release is her participation in counseling sessions with Andrew Xu. Dr. Xu is a somewhat off-putting psychiatrist who holds Kerasha’s freedom in her hands. Kerasha’s problems are aggravated by her compulsions --- addiction and stealing --- even as she exhibits a wide and deep appreciation for classic literature in her spare time. Shecky is faced with trying to keep his business and his family together, often finding that when he does something to reach one of those goals, it moves the other further away. There are surprises to be found on the paths that he takes, and not all of them are good. I underlined a number of passages in THE NIGHTWORKERS. Even as I struggled occasionally with Selfon’s pacing and plotting, his turns of phrase were remarkable from beginning to end. The conclusion is stunning; in fact, I need to read the book again to examine how he got everyone to where he did. I hope that his future novels will return to the streets and the characters he has introduced here. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bri Childs

    A surprisingly touching account of a small family of fixers, each with their own demons and dreams of belonging. This is a layered story of a small, pieced-together crime family that works as fixers for all dangerous sorts: Uncle Shecky, an aging man and head of the family, yearning for their way of life to stay in tact and hearing the wisdom of the sister he lost at a young age, Henry, his nephew recovering from a past of anger and a broken family with dreams of being an artist, and Kerasha, his A surprisingly touching account of a small family of fixers, each with their own demons and dreams of belonging. This is a layered story of a small, pieced-together crime family that works as fixers for all dangerous sorts: Uncle Shecky, an aging man and head of the family, yearning for their way of life to stay in tact and hearing the wisdom of the sister he lost at a young age, Henry, his nephew recovering from a past of anger and a broken family with dreams of being an artist, and Kerasha, his niece known for her impeccable acts of break ins and theft who is battling her own demons of a junkie heritage and time in prison. The book covers so many timeframes, but centers around a summer of murders that begin with that of one of their runners, and Henry's friend, Emil. As we trudge through this family's tumultuous time on the brink of falling apart, multiple histories and betrayals are revealed, and as a reader you never quite know who to root for. I haven't read too many organized crime novels myself, so I was extremely surprised by this one! The characters are complicated and there is so much depth given to their backstories and the demons that they are all separately facing. Each has their own shade of a dark past and yet they also each have such hope and softness. The pace and timing may be tricky for some. It moves extremely quickly back and forth between past and present but after getting my bearings, I found that I enjoyed it - it was a pace very reflective of the harried and dangerous lives playing out on the page. Thank you to Netgalley and Farrar, Straus & Giroux for the advanced e-copy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    I was really impressed with large parts of first time writer Brian Selfon’s The Nightworkers. His characterization was of the highest quality. I found myself intrigued with most of the individual plot lines. His descriptions of Bushwick, a neighborhood I’m only somewhat familiar with, made it come to life. I always enjoy a good New York City crime tale set outside of Manhattan, if done right (thinking in this moment of William Boyle and Maggie Estep). And his use of dialogue, no doubt stemming f I was really impressed with large parts of first time writer Brian Selfon’s The Nightworkers. His characterization was of the highest quality. I found myself intrigued with most of the individual plot lines. His descriptions of Bushwick, a neighborhood I’m only somewhat familiar with, made it come to life. I always enjoy a good New York City crime tale set outside of Manhattan, if done right (thinking in this moment of William Boyle and Maggie Estep). And his use of dialogue, no doubt stemming from his days as an ADA in New York City, seemed authentic. Parts of the story reminded me of a Richard Price novel. Ultimately however, this is a book I wish I liked more than I actually did. And that’s largely because of the non-linear narrative. Selfon sets his whole story up around a crime that happens to a “family” of criminals. But as he tries to build the world around it, he makes it impossible to get invested in most of the threads from the spine of the tale. He’s essentially telling three or four stories at once, whereas each of these characters are rich enough to demand their own novel. At times, he uses obfuscation to keep the reader off balance but it mostly left me confused. So the result is a compelling crime novel with interesting pieces that aren’t put together in a way I found effective for a quality reading experience. Nevertheless, Selfon is a talent and I’ll be on the lookout for his next novel. I just hope he finds a way to streamline the story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peacejanz

    This is a debut novel from someone who has spent his life working in criminal justice, so we can believe that he knows what he is writing about. This novel had depth, kindness, love, concern - lots of good stuff among the three main characters, a man who provides a home for a nephew and a niece, who would would be homeless except for him. As the nephew explains early in the book, his Uncle Shecky is in the money business - "adjustable-interest loans, interest-only home loans, mortgages, LLCs, PA This is a debut novel from someone who has spent his life working in criminal justice, so we can believe that he knows what he is writing about. This novel had depth, kindness, love, concern - lots of good stuff among the three main characters, a man who provides a home for a nephew and a niece, who would would be homeless except for him. As the nephew explains early in the book, his Uncle Shecky is in the money business - "adjustable-interest loans, interest-only home loans, mortgages, LLCs, PACs, and profitable non-profits." Uncle Shecky is a kind man, caring for the relatives, and making a lot of money. He is also very smart and is teaching the nephew his business. He uses the nephew and niece in the business when necessary. There are very human moments in the portrayals of this family. The work is intricate, complex, a lot of trust and need-to-know information. I never realized that the criminal life was so complex but this writer shows us what happens. He also shows us the misjustice and the police abuse of power. These are things I knew about but seeing three human beings with feelings in these complex situations made them real for me. I feel more sympathy for folks at the bottom of society while reading this book. And I would love to discuss it in book group. Bravo to the author for putting his knowledge and awareness into a fiction book that will teach others.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    Thanks to Library Journal for the advanced reader's copy! Shecky Keenan’s world is imploding. His bank accounts are closing rapidly, his house is being watched by a mysterious man, and his newest runner, Emil Scott is missing, along with the bag of dirty money he was carrying. Shecky’s family laundering business includes his nephew Henry, who’s physically intimidating stature hides an artistic heart and his niece, Kerasha, a girl with sticky fingers and a devastating past. Family means everything Thanks to Library Journal for the advanced reader's copy! Shecky Keenan’s world is imploding. His bank accounts are closing rapidly, his house is being watched by a mysterious man, and his newest runner, Emil Scott is missing, along with the bag of dirty money he was carrying. Shecky’s family laundering business includes his nephew Henry, who’s physically intimidating stature hides an artistic heart and his niece, Kerasha, a girl with sticky fingers and a devastating past. Family means everything to Shecky but he soon learns even family can keep dark secrets from each other, as Emil’s disappearance starts them down a path filled with unexpected turns and betrayal. Selfon’s experience as an investigative analyst for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office brings a realistic element to this debut novel, weaving truth and fantasy seamlessly together to create an exciting look into the city’s seedy, treacherous back alley world of drugs, money laundering and murder. The shifting perspectives, from Shecky’s heartbreaking reminisces to Kerasha’s painful memories of her mother and her therapy sessions, provide emotional depth but can leave the reader a bit disoriented. Fans of gritty, dark, dysfunctional mysteries will appreciate this one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan Mills

    Superb first novel! The basics: Characters: At the core is a family. Uncle Shecky, his nephew, Henry, who came to live with him after Henry's mother died of an overdose, and his niece, Kerasha, who was recently released from prison. Henry's girlfriend, Lipz, is sort of part of the family (according to Henry), but not (according to Shecky). Peripheral players: Kerasha's shrink, a cop who escaped being trafficked for sex work as a child, a cop who helps out Henry, a friend of Henry's, Emil, who is Superb first novel! The basics: Characters: At the core is a family. Uncle Shecky, his nephew, Henry, who came to live with him after Henry's mother died of an overdose, and his niece, Kerasha, who was recently released from prison. Henry's girlfriend, Lipz, is sort of part of the family (according to Henry), but not (according to Shecky). Peripheral players: Kerasha's shrink, a cop who escaped being trafficked for sex work as a child, a cop who helps out Henry, a friend of Henry's, Emil, who is an artist, and various family customers, mostly Vasya and Red Dog. The family business: laundering money. As the book begins, the family is being destabilized: Emil is splitting the difference between friend and employee, strictly against the rules; Henry has invited Lipz into the family, their home is under surveillance, and banks are refusing their money and freezing their accounts--not all of them, but enough to worry. Then bodies start piling up; the police start to close in, and he family begins to spin apart. Following these characters, as we get more and more of each of their back stories, along with their inner dialogue, makes for fascinating reading. Amazingly, this is Selfon's first novel. I hope he writes some more!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ray Palen

    Anyone who has ever taken a creative writing class, whether it be for long or short fiction, will recognize that one of the golden rules before starting is to write what you know. This allows you to write with a more confident voice and allow your story to remain grounded in reality. This is precisely what debut novelist Brian Selfon has done with his novel THE NIGHTWORKERS. He reaches back into his experience with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, where he focused on cases dealing with m Anyone who has ever taken a creative writing class, whether it be for long or short fiction, will recognize that one of the golden rules before starting is to write what you know. This allows you to write with a more confident voice and allow your story to remain grounded in reality. This is precisely what debut novelist Brian Selfon has done with his novel THE NIGHTWORKERS. He reaches back into his experience with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, where he focused on cases dealing with money-laundering and first-degree murder and used that as the background for a story that deals with a 'family' of Brooklyn criminals who focus primarily on 'moving money' from one place to another for their clients. It all starts when Henry falls in love with Emil Scott at first sight. Neither represents as homosexual, but there is an obvious bond. One of them, Henry, is a member of a criminal family specializing in money laundering; the other, Emil, is an up-and-coming artist in a gentrified area of Brooklyn that seems to house nothing but artists. Henry plays to Emil's vanity as he is a fan of his artwork. He is able to convince Emil that having money will allow him to focus more on his work and achieve the fame he so desires. Henry intends to use Emil as a money runner because he is hungry and shrewd. Regrettably, this relationship will not end positively for either of them. Henry is part of a 'family' of criminals who all live under one house. The patriarch of this family is Shecky Keenan who has been doing this his entire life. He has shared his trade with his housemates, Henry, and the recently paroled from prison, Kerasha. Both Henry and Kerasha have their own dreams for success and where they would take the family business once Shecky is no longer around or retired. Kerasha is an expert at break-ins and has a sixth sense for blueprints and layouts. Henry is a numbers guy and he is always looking for that big score the two of them can claim together to make Shecky proud and show that they are ready to stand on their own. Things take a tragic turn when Emil is killed while in operation under Henry. The death is called a mugging gone wrong, but there is enough evidence to possibly tie things back to the 'family' and it is Shecky who has to answer the questions of the NYPD when they come knocking at the door of their Brooklyn home. There is a quarter of a million dollars at play, the amount taken from Emil, and this brings along the involvement of a big-time criminal player in Brooklyn known as Red Dog. It also brings in a psychotic sometime-girlfriend of Henry's who goes by the tag Lipz and she will do anything to get what she sees as her share of the stolen money. Brian Selfon steps firmly into the new genre known as Brooklyn noir and the result is a twisty crime thriller that will hit home for those familiar with the area. THE NIGHTWORKERS also will appeal to fans of the crime thriller genre and they will particularly enjoy the time Selfon has taken to focus on what he knows while creating very believable characters that you will instantly care about. Reviewed by Ray Palen for Criminal Element

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I should not have liked this book, but I did. I should not have found these characters compelling, but I did. I should have laughed at the author's thesis that every career criminal is a frustrated artist, but I did not. And I should have guessed the twist about fifty pages before I did, but just like one of the enchanting thugs in this book, there are certain things I refused to believe about a certain character despite all the red flags. So I let Mr. Selfon fool me, No one to blame but myself. I should not have liked this book, but I did. I should not have found these characters compelling, but I did. I should have laughed at the author's thesis that every career criminal is a frustrated artist, but I did not. And I should have guessed the twist about fifty pages before I did, but just like one of the enchanting thugs in this book, there are certain things I refused to believe about a certain character despite all the red flags. So I let Mr. Selfon fool me, No one to blame but myself. Everything about "The Nightworkers," right down to the title, suggest "quirky crime novel." And I tend to hate "quirky crime novels," since they tend to be self-amused portraits of murders, pimps, dealers ad infinitum as a gallery of lovable rogues. So why did I read "The Nightwalkers?" Because I felt like I was drowning after a particularly horrible ARC and this was the first bit of debris I could find, i.e. the first title on the Kindle carousel. And in keeping with the genre, Mr. Selfon works furiously to make his felons adorable, but I gotta hand it to him . . . he succeeds.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sid

    Torn between 3.5 and 4... Selfon takes bold risks casting mostly unsavoury characters - a family of money-launderers laundering most notoriously for sex-traffickers, a corrupt policewoman, a selfish and deranged drug dealer/addict- and making us confront their purest feelings and fears. This is, first and foremost, about love: familial, romantic, friendly, love of self. As far as crime novels go, this one skews heavily towards the literary, and is mostly successful at it. It's a surprisingly emoti Torn between 3.5 and 4... Selfon takes bold risks casting mostly unsavoury characters - a family of money-launderers laundering most notoriously for sex-traffickers, a corrupt policewoman, a selfish and deranged drug dealer/addict- and making us confront their purest feelings and fears. This is, first and foremost, about love: familial, romantic, friendly, love of self. As far as crime novels go, this one skews heavily towards the literary, and is mostly successful at it. It's a surprisingly emotional read, beautifully written in the popular modern 'philosophical stream of cousciousness' style. It is by no means fast-pace, making several pit-stops in the minds of its characters. Occasionally, it meanders a bit too much to my liking. It does suffer, towards the end, from what TVTropes called "Darkness Induced Audience Apathy". Though the ending itself was powerfully emotional, the last chapters were a bit leaden.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Char

    Thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this novel. The Nightworkers is a thriller following a family of money launderers throw into chaos when one of their runners goes missing. Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, who are making their way through the ranks of the family business. What I like about this is the characters. They are all fully developed and different. They all have scenes with outside characters away form the famil Thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this novel. The Nightworkers is a thriller following a family of money launderers throw into chaos when one of their runners goes missing. Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, who are making their way through the ranks of the family business. What I like about this is the characters. They are all fully developed and different. They all have scenes with outside characters away form the family dynamic, and all have a life outside of the hustle. This is a strong debut. I really like the use of the future perfect tense in this, it's only used a few times, but it gives closure to characters or their stories, and I think it's really clever.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui Brown

    The book begins with love and with love. Seems to me to be about how to be with oneself and how to choose and love your dear ones in a city (and world) whose class divisions undignify us all. It ends like a prayer. For all of those dispossessed by “justice” - whether by transacting in it or combatting it or victimized by it - that they may find a home and a family. And perhaps the point is that this is the best justice we can hope for. Starr is the actual star of the show. Kerasha and Dr. Xu migh The book begins with love and with love. Seems to me to be about how to be with oneself and how to choose and love your dear ones in a city (and world) whose class divisions undignify us all. It ends like a prayer. For all of those dispossessed by “justice” - whether by transacting in it or combatting it or victimized by it - that they may find a home and a family. And perhaps the point is that this is the best justice we can hope for. Starr is the actual star of the show. Kerasha and Dr. Xu might steal your heart. I suspect that Shecky is more than a little based on the author himself. And beware the perspective changes; they just may slip you up.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Prescott

    Author Brian Selfon worked in criminal justice so its no surprise that his debut novel would have an authentic feel. He’s an excellent writer that brings poetic life to these unlikeable characters. The initial story revolves gangster Henry and his friend Emil who are both painters. Brian Selfon has a knack for finding humanity in these monstrous people. The structure is a bit confusing and suffers from a non-linear time frame. So even with the elegance of his writing, he fails to engage the read Author Brian Selfon worked in criminal justice so its no surprise that his debut novel would have an authentic feel. He’s an excellent writer that brings poetic life to these unlikeable characters. The initial story revolves gangster Henry and his friend Emil who are both painters. Brian Selfon has a knack for finding humanity in these monstrous people. The structure is a bit confusing and suffers from a non-linear time frame. So even with the elegance of his writing, he fails to engage the reader.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diogenes

    Not an easy read, but not easy to put down, either. The characters are complex, conflicted and fragile, but even though they are not a part of most readers' worlds, they resonate as both likable and self-destructive. The difficulty comes mostly from the fractured timeline, flitting ahead, past and present almost randomly. A stark lesson of today's opaque, bitter urban reality.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A different take on a crime novel, The Nightworkers by Brian Selfon, takes you into the interpersonal lives of a family of money launderers after the murder of one of their "employees". The book is part mystery, part family drama, and part crime novel. Shifting perspectives between the 3 members of the family, you learn what is going on within each person's head and see the situation through different eyes. I don't know what I had originally expected with this story, but the end result was great A different take on a crime novel, The Nightworkers by Brian Selfon, takes you into the interpersonal lives of a family of money launderers after the murder of one of their "employees". The book is part mystery, part family drama, and part crime novel. Shifting perspectives between the 3 members of the family, you learn what is going on within each person's head and see the situation through different eyes. I don't know what I had originally expected with this story, but the end result was great! A quick read for anyone who is a fan of a crime mystery fan.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jason Allison

    A New York crime story about small time money launderers dripping in a distinctive voice that grabs the reader by the throat. Selfon’s prose demands attention. The narrative is non-linear, though, and I had some trouble placing events in chronological order. Still, it sounds like few other gritty, literary crime novels and I look forward to his next work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Roberson

    Phenomenal Debut Normally after reading a book this incandescent I would spend the next weeks devouring the author's other books. Alas, I will have to wait. The Nightworkers is a story that provides insight and perhaps even hope for a future that is different and better. I am tempted to begin re-reading it immediately.

  25. 4 out of 5

    BookTrib.com

    An electrifying, surprising thriller filled with big ideas and an even bigger heart, and its world is one the author knows well. Read our full review here: https://booktrib.com/2020/09/25/brook... An electrifying, surprising thriller filled with big ideas and an even bigger heart, and its world is one the author knows well. Read our full review here: https://booktrib.com/2020/09/25/brook...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    I had trouble keeping track of some of the minor characters, but the main three - Henry, Kerasha, and Shecky - are vividly drawn and compelling. The ending brought things together in a satisfying way.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Donna Wetzel

    Thanks Goodreads for my copy of The Nightworkers by Brian Selfon. I am sorry but I just didn't like this book. The language turned me off completely. I didn't care for the plot or characters. The best part of the book was the cover art work.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joe Jones

    A dysfunctional criminal family thrown together by circumstances. Then a murder and they find their lives falling apart as secret after secret is slowly revealed. So well done!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Boris Feldman

    Brooklyn Noir. And no, I don't mean the color of the shtreimels. A superb debut novel. Nearly every character was engaging, at least while still alive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Impressively well-written debut thriller that kept me turning the pages!

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