By Shannon Burke
(Soft Skull Press, Paperback, 9781593761912, 192pp.)
Publication Date: April 2008
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Novelist Shannon Burke earned stunning reviews for his debut book, Safelight, and now he returns with the same minimalist intensity in this arresting follow-up. Black Flies is the story of paramedic Ollie Cross and his first year on the job in mid-'90s New York. It is a ground's eye view of life on the streets: the shoot-outs, the bad cops, unhinged medics, the hopeless patients, the dark humor in bizarre circumstances, and one medic's struggle to balance his desire to help against his own growing callousness. It is the story of lives that hang in the balance, and of a single job with a misdiagnosed newborn that sends Cross and his partner into a life-changing struggle between good and evil.