— Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)
“Fast action and multiple plot lines make this fourth Jack Leightner mystery an engrossing read, but don't get too comfortable because Cohen is a master at misdirection. Cohen captures Brooklyn and its people in this tale of then and now.”
"Cohen’s latest Jack Leightner novel might be the best so far. The borough of Brooklyn shines as brightly as the conflicted, haunted lead character, standing in for the world at large. Cohen tells a gripping story of guilt and revenge, terrorist threats and neighborhood ties and throws in a little-known historical event for good measure. Riveting!.”
—Romantic Times Bookclub (4 1/2 stars)
“Gabriel Cohen has created a non-typical crime drama that brims with intelligence and emotion and really takes you inside the minds and souls of the characters and their individual conflicts. Cohen has a fine grasp of both NYC and his home-town of Brooklyn, NY. More importantly, Leightner speaks with a voice that any New Yorker will understand and I hope to see more of this complex character.”
—New Mystery Reader.com
““A murdered friend, a beautiful widow and the borough of Brooklyn loom large in this superb installment from NYPD Detective Jack Leightner... An impeccable procedural plus a poignant love story, intelligent, understated and refreshing.”
—Starred review from Kirkus Reviews
"Cohen treats crime fans to quirky details of Jack’s world and a knowing glimpse of an amazing place blessed and afflicted by a surfeit of “tribes” that sometimes go to war and are always suspicious of outsiders. Cohen’s novels belong at the top of every Brooklyn crime-fiction list."
— Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)
“A dark, lustrous police procedural…[The second book in] this brilliant series. There's plenty of suspense in The Graving Dock. The book is smartly opinionated, too. At a time when some of the older masterful cop writers, like Ed McBain, are dying or just fading away, Cohen's appearance comes as a relief and pleasure.”
—Washington Post Book World
“As readers acclimate to the subdued vibe of a wintry city recovering from the raw shock of 9/11, Cohen begins to display a cool, unfussy mastery of interweaving plots in a way that feels a lot like real life... Although the plot finishes strong, the discussion Leightner has with a British-expat Buddhist nun about attachment emerges as the book’s surprising high point.”
Death and recovery consume Det. Jack Leightner in his second appearance and validate the praise Cohen received for Red Hook Cohen offers not just a mystery but a satisfying elegy for vanished ways of life.
— Publishers Weekly
“Intricate, atmospheric, funny and enthralling… An impressive crime novel from a powerful, promising writer.”
— George Pelecanos, author of The Night Gardeners
"Sometimes, a book comes along and you realize it's just what you've been waiting for -- even if you didn't know it. Gabriel Cohen has written another winner, bittersweet and melancholic, but not without hope for the human condition."
—Laura Lippman, author of What the Dead Know
"The breadth of Gabriel Cohen's knowledge of such disparate subjects as tides, Buddhism, and the NYPD is matched by the depth of his knowledge of the human heart. The Graving Dock is as beautifully observed as it is completely absorbing."
—SJ Rozan, author of In This Rai
“A story that engages the reader from the first page, and a gripping tale of mystery and suspense. You will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at a world known only to the New York detective.”
—John Cornicello, Lt. Commander,
“"Overflowing with grit, melancholy sweep and a kind of wise tenderness, Graving Dock delivers a smart and compelling mystery that draws us closely to its story of loss and the haunting pull of memory and holds us there to its final pages.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Queenpin
Sound advice and short chapters fill his narrative of recovery, unadorned by bullet-pointed lists, side-bars or “get-enlightened-quick scheme[s],” which should do much to engage readers and keep them that way. Encouraging and accessible throughout, Cohen’s book will make a useful tool for readers going through a difficult break-up.
Anybody who has ever experienced the breakdown of a relationship, let alone a divorce, will find that once started, this book is impossible to put down. A deeply personal and honest account of one man’s journey that becomes universal. This is an inspirational and insightful story.
A generous book… An inner adventure told with humor and disarming candor. We come to care about the author. He has a guileless quality—like the country music he loves—that draws us in. [An] evocative and illuminating memoir-cum-guidebook. Gabriel Cohen has a knack for seamlessly weaving together conceptual material and personal anecdotes. In the end, the book speaks not only to people struggling through the trauma of divorce but also to anyone interested in how Buddhist teachings apply to everyday life.
Novelist Cohen sensitively explores the link between non-attachment and detachment in this sober and thoughtful life manual for Buddhist readers. He makes use not just of Buddhist precepts but also of his own experience and humor to show how conceptualizing the negative emotions that accompany divorce in a less “attached” way can help one deal with it differently.
A highly readable yet subtle book…very grounded and straightforward…full of useful insights. This is an enjoyable, useful book, well worth reading.
—The Middle Way (U.K.)
Sample reader letters:
“I’m writing to tell you that your book about divorce hit such a deep note for me that I actually consider it the thing that turned around my process of healing from my recent separation/divorce. It made me think, cry, and laugh, and gave me some much-needed perspective. I’ve read many of the divorce-related books out there, and couldn’t stand yet another hand-wringing tale of woe (and ultimately cheesy triumph) that ultimately left me feeling drained rather than inspired – or worse, a hollow guidebook that basically instructed me to buck up, put on some lip gloss and get on with it. Your story – and the telling of it - is beautiful, and honest, and every bit as helpful as I sense you meant for it to be.”
“I am writing to express my deep gratitude for your book, "Storms Can't Hurt the Sky." I was skeptical (due to my aversion to "self-help" literature). But it saved me from near-death (well, that's a bit dramatic), but I had stopped eating, stopped sleeping, stopped functioning for a week after my partner left me. Reading your very heartfelt, relatable account with the profound strands of buddhism deftly woven in, I managed to absorb both the life experience and spiritual text in a way I usually haven't been able to when I've tried reading other books on "self- improvement" (or Buddhist texts, for that matter). Most of all, it calmed me and gave me succor in a situation that felt hopeless on all levels.”
“As someone who went through something very similar last year, I wanted to let you know that I have found tremendous solace, comfort, and insight in your book. I identify closely with so much of what you say. I'm not trying to tell you it's a good book because it mirrors my experience, but that, well, it's just a really good book, I'm glad you wrote it, and I'm glad I've read it. I'm going to give a copy to everyone I know going through something similar. Which is seemingly like everyone.”
“Cohen’s impressive second novel abandons the gritty waterfront of
Cohen beautifully uses this predicament to explore the painful issues of race and class that underlie this changing neighborhood, where million-dollar brownstones and drug-infested housing projects sit side by side…Cohen creates complicated, flesh-and-blood characters and skillfully manipulates the reader’s sympathies to and fro…This elegantly written novel tackles wrenching questions in an unflinching, kindhearted way. It gives no easy answers, and it shouldn’t—to do so would diminish the novel’s complicated delight in the noisy, gritty tangle of urban life.
— Time Out New York (four-star review)
Beautifully written… a rich, inviting prose style.
— Kirkus Reviews
Cohen’s second novel is emotionally substantial and sensitively written… The characters, which he creates with attention to detail and tenderness …breathe with life…The smart, urban dialogue tends to ring true and is oftentimes quite funny… The descriptions of Boerum Hill are rich and lovely, and will ring true to any reader familiar with the area; Cohen’s sentences are beautiful and poetic and ripe with imagery... Cohen is clearly a master of his craft, and his second novel is quite readable… A finely-observed urban drama.
--SoHo Journal: The Magazine of Arts and
“This first effort works both as a good mystery and a literary novel. It is better than promising (may the gods take note): it is accomplished.”
“Red Hook is a real neighborhood in Brooklyn, and Red Hook is a book that gives you a real feeling for the neighborhood. Gabriel Cohen makes no effort to pretty up the place in this outstanding first novel.”
—The New York Times Sunday Book Review
“The protagonist is flawed, often self-hating, and yet deeply sympathetic in this accomplished first novel: a police procedural with heart.”
“In Gabriel Cohen's sophisticated contemporary noir, Red Hook is a place with a storied past, a shaky present and a tantalizing chance at rebirth. The same could be said of Jack Leightner, the middle-aged Brooklyn homicide detective at the heart of this top-shelf crime novel...What Cohen does so well here is to give us everything we require from a cop story...and then so much more: There's a documentary panache to his depiction of Brooklyn and its history (appropriate, because Leightner's slacker son is an aspiring filmmaker) and an acutely rendered sense of consequence, of the way criminal acts--and personal histories--radiate to affect entire communities.”
—The L.A. Times Sunday Book Review
“Cohen, who lives in Brooklyn, has an unerring sense of place, a gift for characterization and nonstop take-no-prisoners pacing. If urban crime is your thing, Red Hook is one of the best debuts in years.”
“This compelling first novel offers an amazingly deft mystery of character.”
"Red Hook is Gabriel Cohen's first novel and he is off to a great start...Red Hook is head and shoulders above most police procedurals. It is a gripping character study and a moving depiction of the rise and fall of an urban neighborhood. It is recommended for readers interested in police stories as well as anyone looking for a new voice and a well-written story. Now we know that Gabriel Cohen is a gifted writer. Let's hope that he is also prolific."
“I really enjoyed Red Hook--a beautifully written, atmospheric book with strong characters and an interesting plot”
“Red Hook is a novel of unassailable authenticity. [Cohen] certainly knows the turf. His characters are real—I know these people and Cohen has penetrated their inner space. Red Hook moves along with remarkable speed—a terrific story.”
Bob Leuci, former NYPD detective and author of six novelst