Sleuthing in Newark

The 40th anniversary of the Newark race riots is coming up this July, and Brett Ellen Block has just written a crime novel, The Lightning Rule (William Morrow), with the riots as a backdrop.

The 40th anniversary of the Newark race riots is coming up this July, and Brett Ellen Block has just written a crime novel, The Lightning Rule (William Morrow), with the riots as a backdrop.

Block’s father, a Newark native, often talked about the city’s abandoned subway tunnels, inspiring a key location in this book about police detective Martin Emmett of the Fourth Precinct, who is hunting down a crazed killer on the loose. And “crazed” is definitely the operative word here: think Hannibal Lecter and you’re on the right track. Of the Precinct, writes Block, “With plywood boards covering the ground-floor windows, burn marks on the brick, and last night’s spent ammunition of trash and broken bottles strewn across the sidewalks, the only sign that it was an operating police station were the cops out front.”

Don’t miss this summer’s exhibit about the civil upheaval at the New Jersey Historical Society (visit jersey­history.org for more information).

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