Reed Farrel Coleman crafts a complicated plot in Hurt Machine that is painted with a marvelous character, that being the city itself. If there ever was a character in fiction that could be a city, that city is New York. New York is a microcosm of every ethnic, religious, and tradition, every kind of restaurant, and restaurants that could only exist in New York. Every saint and every sinner, every priest and every penitent . Prager takes us along to the eateries great and small, to the Irish pubs and The ‘Red Sauce’ restaurants in his quest to solve Alta’s murder.
The supporting characters are real people as you’d expect from the man NPR's Maureen Corrigan has called a 'hard-boiled poet.' The plot is clever, twisty, and comes full circle. As we accompany Moe on what could be his last case we get to see not only how the hurt machine takes its victims, but how we all drive the machine, willingly or not. Or as Moe puts it, “It is one thing to say oy vey – 'oh, woe' – and another to say oy vey iz mir – woe is me.”