Wings Over Manhattan
Don D’Ammassa

Bad Moon Books
Trade Paper, 55 pages, $15.00
Review by Sheila M. Merritt

Prohibition: A time of speakeasy clubs, gangsters, flappers, Japanese demons – Japanese demons? In Wings Over Manhattan, author Don D’Ammassa whimsically incorporates creatures from Asian folklore into The Roaring ’20s. What starts out as a private eye narrative moves quickly (this is a very short book) to the universe of the occult. A demonic dalliance propels sleuthing to the realm of the supernatural. D’Ammassa’s prose is crisp and evocative of the period. He’s adept handling the requisites of the hardboiled detective yarn: Attractive dames, the sardonic P.I., gun happy thugs. Tossing in some fearsome winged beasties into the mix is at once audacious and amusing.

Fallon, the story’s sleuth, is thus summed up by another character: “Private dick. Not a classy one either.” Fallon falls in with unsavory company while keeping watch over the lovely Selina Rose. Selina’s sister has vanished. Papa Rose is worried about his daughter at hand, and so he should be. She’s determined to locate sis, and those involved with the sibling’s disappearance are more than willing to assist her in the search. Of course, these nefarious nasties have a sinister scenario concocted.

While predictable in outcome, Wings Over Manhattan is an enjoyable romp: The villains are vintage; the dialogue a send-up of genre expectations. Not frightening; not horrific; not edge-of-the-seat suspense; the tale is fun and well told. Don D’Ammassa enjoys his characters and the era he covers. The reader will, too.

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