Jeffrey Deaver knows how to hook readers and keep them guessing with suspenseful, twisty plots. This early Deaver effort, originally published in 1988, will not disappoint fans dazzled by his subsequent, high-profile Lincoln Rhyme series (The Bone Collector, The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair.)|
Manhattan Is My Beat takes its name from the (invented) 1947 film noir watched obsessively by murder victim Robert Kelly. Our heroine, Rune, (a punk with a heart of gold) works for Washington Square Video. On a routine pickup to retrieve Manhattan Is My Beat, she discovers Kelly just shot dead, the target of a professional hit. Rune and a woman jogger glimpse the presumed killer as he speeds off in a green car. While cops drag their heels in solving the mystery, Rune takes matters into her own hands, convinced that the motive for the murder is a missing suitcase stuffed with one million dollars--the subject, not coincidentally, of the film that Kelly and Rune both admired. An avid fan of fantasy novels and prone to see life through the prism of magic and quests, Rune takes up the challenge of finding the lost money and catching Kelly's killers. But the formidable hit team is intent upon destroying both possible witnesses to the murder, and their nimble crosses and double-crosses--some of which the reader sees, some of which are revealed at the end--make for fun reading.
Plotting moves briskly in this novel, except for a slowdown in the story--Rune's ambiguous romance with downtown poseur Richard has little to do with catching killers. The conclusion, while neatly wrapped, is marred by the sudden appearance of a crucial detail that Deaver produces like a fancy dish under the waiter's silver dome. But the gimmick to offset the conclusion's predictability feels like a cheat rather than a revelation. All in all, however, the novel is excellent mind candy, a thrilling romp lead by an agile, street-smart heroine.
Source: Kathi Inman Berens, Amazon.com.