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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: Stories and Essays


An enthralling collection of short fiction and nonfiction that draw upon McLoughlin’s three-decade career in the criminal justice system.

*While supplies last, books ordered through the website will include a bookplate SIGNED by Tim Mcloughlin!

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What people are saying…

McLoughlin’s short story “The Amnesty Box” from Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has been nominated for an Edgar Award!

“A wistful Irish sensibility and memories from a 30-year career as a peace officer in the New York City criminal justice system haunt this solid collection . . . With spare prose, McLoughlin creates memorable vignettes of urban life. Fans of Kent Anderson’s Liquor, Guns & Ammo will want to check this out.”
Publishers Weekly

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: Stories and Essays is undeniably thrilling. Here is all the toughness and ambiguity that made characters like Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op classics.”
Gumshoe Review

“The six stories and seven essays in this collection draw on the author’s 30 years working in the criminal justice system. In one story, an opioid-addicted cat-sitter learns devastating things when he eavesdrops on his neighbors.”
Publishers Weekly, Spring 2022 Announcements (Mysteries & Thrillers)

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms couldn’t be more New York. Tim McLoughlin drops a ton of big-city knowledge and wisdom, rich in lived-in detail, with humor that’s hard as the sidewalk.”
—John Strausbaugh, author of City of Sedition

“Whether writing fact or fiction, McLoughlin does so with an ear to the street. His Irish cops are as good as anything by Richard Price, and his essays about New York City life are incomparable. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is to be devoured in bite-sized bits but savored like a four-course meal. Get this book!”
—T.J. English, author of The Westies: Inside New York’s Irish Mob

“Reading Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is like being a fly on the bathroom wall of my favorite shitty cop bar in south Brooklyn where the horrible and the hilarious are beating the crap out of each other over a game of eight ball. I loved it.”
Lydia Lunch, author of So Real It Hurts

“In Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Tim McLoughlin’s slice-of-life observations about the gritty despair and raw humanity of New York City capture the pain and promise of our beloved concrete jungle.”
Nelson George, author of The Death of Rhythm & Blues

“Whether in fiction or nonfiction, Tim McLoughlin is an armed and dangerous judge of his own crimes and misdemeanors within the New York underworld. His stories are both tactile and ethereal, offering the square world a scuba dive into the depths of what we do.”
—Kenji Jasper, author of The House on Childress Street

“With a wry, knowing voice of ruthless authenticity, McLoughlin delivers the goods.”
—Gary Phillips, author of Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem

Critical praise for Heart of the Old Country:

Selected by the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program

“[P]art coming-of-age story, part thriller . . . [it’s] got all the ingredients for what may be a whole new genre.”
Entertainment Weekly

“McLoughlin in his first novel easily ranks with [Richard] Price.”

“[S]olid suspense from the land of the wiseguys.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Sweet, sardonic, and by turns hilarious and tragic . . .”
Publishers Weekly

Critical praise for Brooklyn Noir, edited by Tim McLoughlin:

The Inaugural Title in the Award-Winning Akashic Noir Series

Winner of Shamus, Anthony, and Robert L. Fish Memorial awards

Finalist for an Edgar Award and a Pushcart Prize

Two Stories Selected for Inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories

“[A] collection of crime stories set in different Brooklyn neighborhoods, edited by Mr. McLoughlin . . . The stories are set far and wide in the borough, from Red Hook to Bushwick to Canarsie . . . Brooklyn has always occupied a special place in the imagination of America writers who have been captivated by its raffishness.”
New York Times

“[An] anthology of 19 brand-new hard-boiled and twisted tales, each set in a different Brooklyn neighborhood . . . the best stories concern people in the present coming to terms with the past.”
Publishers Weekly

“New York’s punchiest borough asserts its criminal legacy with brand-new stories from a magnificent set of today’s best writers. Brooklyn Noir moves from Coney Island to Bedford-Stuyvesant to Bay Ridge to Red Hook to Bushwick to Sheepshead Bay to Park Slope and far deeper, into the heart of Brooklyn’s historical and criminal largesse, with all of its dark splendor.”
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brooklyn Noir’s contributors are aware of their surroundings, literal and literary . . . Be cool: This pulp’s got enough juice to keep the margaritas flowing.”
Village Voice

“It’s all Brooklyn—Bensonhurst and Brighton Beach, Red Hook and Crown Heights—in this atmospheric collection of noir tales.”

“This Brooklyn is cagey and unpredictable. This is about the shadowy corners, the musty old bars and the sidewalks littered with broken glass. In Brooklyn Noir, you can’t take anything for granted.”
Brooklyn Paper


In Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Tim McLoughlin draws upon his three-decade career in the criminal justice system with his characteristic wit and his fascination with misfits and malfeasance. A lifetime immersed in New York City feeds short stories that evoke a landscape of characters rife with personal arrogance and misjudgment; and nonfiction essays about toeing the line when the line keeps disappearing.

An opioid-addicted catsitter electronically eavesdrops on his neighbors only to hear devastating truths. A degenerate gambler stakes his life on a long shot because he sees three lucky numbers on the license plate of a passing car.

In the nonfiction essays, we learn that the system plays a role in supporting vice, as long as it gets a cut. Altar boys compete to work weddings and funerals for tips in the shadow of predatory priests. Cops become robbers, and a mob boss just might be a civil rights icon. McLoughlin shines a light on worlds that few have access to.

A recurring theme in his urban, often New York–centric work is chronic displacement, people standing still in a city that is always changing. These are McLoughlin’s ghosts, these casualties of progress, and he holds them dear and celebrates them.

Listen to Tim McLoughlin’s interview with Lydia Lunch on the Lydian Spin podcast.

Listen to an interview with Tim McLoughlin on the podcast Drinks with Tony.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Published: 3/1/22
  • IBSN: 9781617759840
  • e-IBSN: 9781617759956


TIM McLOUGHLIN is the editor of the multiple award–winning anthologies Brooklyn Noir and Brooklyn Noir 2, and coeditor of Brooklyn Noir 3. His debut novel, Heart of the Old Country , was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, won Italy’s Premio Penne award, and was the basis for the motion picture The Narrows. His books have been published in seven languages. McLoughlin retired after working for thirty years as a peace officer in the New York City criminal justice system, and divides his time between Brooklyn and Eastern Pennsylvania. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: Stories and Essays is his latest work.

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