Tom Morrissey book

Billy the Bird, Mr. Moose Miller — who had been a contender long ago but at 80 years could still pack a punch, numbers runner Joey Fingers who never had to write down a customer’s bet, Iron Jaw Joe who, at a slight 135 pounds in weight, could tow a bus by clamping a rope between his teeth and pulling. These oddballs and a few more made up the Red Hook Mensa Society. As Morrissey describes them “... they had a collective IQ of 150,” not the required Mensa mark of 150 per individual.

The Mensa society meets at the candy store run by John and Mary to grab a coffee, some smokes, and maybe a bun. The store makes a kind of indoor town square in Brooklyn, a place to meet your friends. Sometimes the local Mafia guy, Fat Pat runs across the local beat cop, Shackles. Goo Goo Bolzano might pop in for a moment with the odd bit of plunder for sale at fire-sale prices. But watch your back around Hat Pin Mary. She is armed and crazy, a bad combination.

A genuine smart guy is Harold the undertaker, a mortician with a sense of humor and an eye for an opportunity.

This sketch of life in Red Hook in the 1960s and a bit beyond comes from author Morrissey’s remembrances of his time there as a child in New York. His family did run a candy store in the Red Hook neighborhood (The Hook as they called it) and the vivid, perhaps crazy, characters are drawn from his real-life experiences in that time, at that place. It works for me.

Life sometimes has a hard edge to it, as Billy the Bird found out when he got mixed up with Fat Pat and the local killers. A person has to address the challenges of our life’s journey with as much humor as possible. It does help to borrow a talking bird that can speak two languages.

Humor, wit, danger, and a large helping of nostalgia greet us in the pages of “Just a Candy Store in Brooklyn or Was It?” Hey, what else you need?

Morrissey also has a police thriller, “The Way of the Shadow Wolves” and the three-book “Sacred” series about supernatural evil available on Amazon. He has had careers as a music writer/producer/performer and a U.S. Marshal. He currently serves as mayor of Payson in the cool mountains of Arizona.

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