Brownsville is a quality book, obviously a labor of love and skill from two talents, writer Neil Kleid and artist Jake Allen. The presentation is handsome, an easy-to-read hardcover at a reasonable price. The themes are universal, dealing with loyalty, different kinds of families, and the urge to belong. The subject is important, a well-researched story of the Jewish mob of the 1930s. It also happens to be one I’m simply not interested in.

I don’t care for gangster stories, so much so that I find them confusing. There are a lot of similar-looking men in similar-looking clothes, and since I don’t have an emotional connection to the characters, I often get them mixed up. That’s not the artist’s fault — it’s an artifact of the period, where it was more important to dress a certain way at certain times than it is now.


I don’t want to empathize with gangsters, nor am I fascinated by what they do. I just want to stay far away from it all. Which means I can’t give this book a fair review; it’s a great example of a genre I don’t want to read. It was kind of neat paging through it and seeing the evocative background recreation of another era, though.

There are preview pages available at the publisher’s website. This interview with the creators gives more background information.

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