Stephen Solomita has proven to be a prolific and versatile writer since his first mystery novel, A Twist of the Knife, featuring police officer (later private eye) Stanley Moodrow, appeared in 1988. His work ranges from the extremely gritty and hard-boiled crime story, such as Keeplock (1995), which is told from the point of view of a former convict, to the softer, more traditional mystery, such as Dead Is Forever (2004), which concerns the exploits of a wealthy, aristocratic private investigator in the tradition of C. Auguste Dupin or Philo Vance.
A New Yorker through and through, Solomita’s particular strength is in depicting the city and its multifarious denizens. He is especially adept at sketching street people—prostitutes, pimps, bums, and other assorted lowlifes—and has an ear well tuned to the rhythm and vocabulary of dialogue as it issues from the mouths of people from the dregs to the pinnacles of society.
A critical favorite among fellow hard-boiled writers, Solomita typically receives positive reviews in both domestic and international venues; however, whether as Solomita or David Cray, he has yet to become a household name among general crime readers. Forced Entry (1990), the fourth novel in his Stanley Moodrow series, was selected an Editor’s Choice at Drood Review. The seventh entry in the series, Damaged Goods (1996), was nominated for the Hammett Prize, an award from the North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers.