BOOK REVIEW: DOPE
In 1950 in Manhattan, Josephine Flannigan has stayed off the drugs for about two years while working at Tiffany’s where she pilfers jewelry to sell, supplementing her income. She meets Nathaniel and Maybelline Wilson of Westchester County in the law offices of Jackson, Smith & Alexander. Nathaniel tells her that Nick “the Greek” suggested she could help them find their nineteen years old daughter Nadine, a Bernard drop-out hooked on drugs, who vanished three months ago in the city with a boyfriend Jerry McFall. They provide her with a retainer of $1000 and another $1000 if successful.
Though she has never done anything like this and has no idea which Nick the Greek recommended her as that is a common street name, she accepts the case. Joe begins searching the mean streets of hell’s Kitchens seeking out the pimps on the assumption that would be the only way Nadine could pay for her habit as he knows form first hand experience. However, danger lurks on every corner and with every stranger as well as the threat of returning to the environs where she first embraced drugs.
Set just after World War II, DOPE is a gritty look at the underside of Manhattan where the drop-outs from the Blackboard Jungle die easily with no one to grieve them. The story line pulls no punches with its in your guts glimpse of the mean streets where drugs and prostitution are king and queen while the euphoria of victory in Europe and the Pacific is someone else’s celebration. Joe is a fabulous heroine who knows the peril that walks everywhere she goes in search of the Westchester runaway as pimps and sellers do not want anyone interfering with their assets.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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