Manhattan Nocturne

Colin Harrison, Author Crown Publishers $24 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-58492-7
If it weren't for the miles of dangerous videotape that snake through this marvelous story, binding its participants to each other and to their ever more elaborate lies, Harrison's latest (after Bodies Electric) could take place in the Manhattan of 40 years ago. The nostalgia is so palpable that the opening scenes conjure images of a jaded reporter sidling through the city's midnight shadows, intent on getting ""the story."" Porter Wren (returning from earlier Harrison novels) is a columnist for a New York daily tabloid, happily married with two kids and a terrifying mortgage, when he's approached at a swank party by a woman who in earlier parlance would have been called a ""dame."" She's Caroline Crowley, widow of hot young filmmaker Simon Crowley. Not even Wren's native cynicism cues him to Caroline's real intentions until he has compromised himself and his family's safety. Crowley was found mysteriously dead in a Lower East Side lot; more than a year later, his murder remains unsolved, but that doesn't seem to be foremost on Caroline's mind. Her current predicament concerns the monstrous billionaire who owns Wren's paper, and who believes a mystery video that has been turning up repeatedly in his office must be coming from her. All Caroline asks is that Wren find the original video, which has nothing to do with Simon's death--maybe. But as Wren was advised years earlier by a washed-up journalist, ""It's all one story."" Harrison shows the truth of this maxim as he deftly connects dozens of far-flung characters--a pair of sad, dotty lawyers in Queens, a spurned lover who shot his fiancee, a nanny in Wren's service--and as many Manhattan locales into a breathtaking collage. His prose brims with the anguish and joy, the guilt and regret and recklessness, of hundreds of the city's voices. He proves that it is all one story--and one that will keep readers enthralled. Author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-440-22433-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-312-99303-0
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