"Lights Out" is not so much a thriller as it is a dark, brooding character study. Starr's narrative has an adjacency (to use a noun that became very dear to me after reading "The Adjacency" by Christopher Priest...) that simultaneously unsettles and drives the story forward. Reading it is like walking pell-mell and slightly drunk through a strange locale with the only certain certainty being that each step takes you further away and closer to inimical territory. You trust your ministering angel to protect you, even as you know it has flown the cage long ago.
Starr has given also his secondary players their moments, portray their places in the neighborhood's impenetrable structure.
The novel has several stories to tell. Its multiple-POV layout provides the story with a omniscient perspective, while affording Starr the opportunity to display his wonderful ear for internal monologue. The problem was that at times I felt as if Starr was also a central character in the book.
Having read this novel in tandem with "Hard Feelings" (vide my review), I got the feeling Jason Starr is attaining a place in the noir realist tradition that says happy endings don't exist in places such as Brooklyn.