The debut novel of local author J. M. Taylor, Night of the Furies, is a dark noir set in Boston during the first half of the twentieth century. It brings to life a Boston long past – a city where meetings at the Old Howard were a secret kept between father and son, where Scollay Square never slept, and where violent crime lurked in every dirty corner.
The story is bookended by two events that are classic myths of Boston – the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 and the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” season of 1967. In between, Taylor visits other points familiar and not so much, including the Cocoanut Grove Fire, and the Statler Hotel robbery, which was the biggest heist ever in Boston, until the Brinks Job two days later. “Nobody remembers second place,” Taylor says about the crime, which his fictional characters commit.
“I really enjoyed the research,” the writer says. “I must have read nearly a hundred books, and thousands of newspapers from the period” to get the details right. The novel tells the story of Giorgio DiGiacomo’s last night on earth, after he’s avenged his gangster father’s death – by killing his own mother. Along the way, Giorgio revisits his past, from his childhood in East Boston and the West End, to his early crimes and failures at legitimate jobs in the movie houses downtown, all in an attempt to justify his vengeance.
Taylor is already at work on a follow-up noir, which takes place in more recent times. Like Night of the Furies, though, it will have a strong connection to mythology, which he says informs all of his work.
Night of the Furies was listed in Spintetingler Magazine’s “Best of 2013” list. It is published by New Pulp Press and is available locally at Tres Gatos and at Wellesley Books. It will soon be hitting the shelves of other local venues as well. It can also be purchased online through the publisher and on Amazon.com.