Who’s After the Park?

Edge of Albany: A Warren Crow Mystery, by Kirby White. Fox Creek Press, 2012. 218pp. $20 (paper).

Everyone’s favorite community development consultant and murder mystery hero (hey, if there were more than one he’d still be my favorite!) is back, walking the streets of Albany, N.Y. And this time Warren Crow is also jogging the paths of Tivoli Park, an amazing but oft-ignored urban wilderness right at the edge of some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

But now something odd — and dangerous — is afoot. Someone is buying up properties around the park edge for inexplicable reasons with unreasonable economics. And someone else is dumping bodies in the park. And only Warren Crow sees a connection between the two.

While die-hard fans of the murder-mystery genre might say there aren’t enough red herrings and complex riddles for them in Edge of Albany, it’s a satisfying story to watch unfold, well told, with rich characters you care about.

So often the work of community development can feel like detective work. And the sense of large and distant sinister forces playing games with the lives of people in the neighborhoods where we work is all too real. I think that’s why The Long Stair hit a nerve, and at a time when urban green space and widespread speculation in foreclosure-hammered neighborhoods are big issues in the field, Edge of Albany is likely to do so too.

Proceeds support the Albany Community Land Trust.

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