cover image Cover Story

Cover Story

Gerry Boyle. Berkley Publishing Group, $22.95 (371pp) ISBN 978-0-425-16893-6

Once a New York Times reporter, Jack McMorrow left the city in the 1980s after a virulent falling-out with the paper's management. A decade later, he's back in Manhattan, settling the details for his gig as the Times's new northern New England stringer before returning home to Maine. While in town, Jack has a drink with his childhood pal, former cop Butch Casey. The next morning a TV reporter informs Jack that New York's popular mayor, the Giulianiesque Johnny Fiore, has been fatally stabbed and Butch has been arrested for the crime. (Ten years ago, when Butch's wife was murdered, then-DA Fiore dropped the case against the killer, saying that a witness against him was tainted.) The media descends on Jack; trying to escape their prying, he winds up at the Brooklyn loft of his ex-girlfriend. Before the mayor's death, Butch had claimed he knew of corruption in the justice system, so Jack treks all over the city checking out Butch's leads while he himself is constantly under surveillance. The mob, drug dealers and political operatives all seem to be part of the shady goings-on. Boyle (Borderline, etc.) deftly puts Jack through his paces: Is Jack's work on the story a conflict of interest? Can he resist the decadent temptations of his old life and return to the woman he loves in Maine? Boyle's snappy prose stops just short of hard-boiled, letting some poignancy slip into his characters' plights. As the story pushes forward, he fashions a powerful study of New York City--of its glamour, of the tawdry hopelessness of so many who live there, and of the power-mad honchos who feed on them. (Jan.)