A keenly intelligent, delightfully mordant novel that blends fact and fiction with the same deft hand that was at work in John Darnton's best-selling Neanderthal.|
It opens in the inner sanctums of the New York Globe, the city's long-standing newspaper of note, whose back is to the wall. Readership, advertising, and circulation are plummeting—along with the paper's vaunted standards—and the cost cutters have their knives out. But trouble of a wholly different kind begins one rainy September morning when a powerful editor is found murdered in the newsroom, with the spike that he'd wielded to kill stories hammered into his chest. And the problem for Priscilla Bollingsworth, the young, ambitious female NYPD detective assigned to the case—besides the fact that the mayor is breathing down her neck for quick results—is there are so many suspects to choose from.
She teams up with Jude Hurley, a clever, rebellious reporter to navigate ink-infested waters whose denizens include the paper's resentful old guard, scheming careerists, a bumbling publisher, a steely executive editor, and a ruthless newspaper tycoon named Lester Moloch. And the waters thicken considerably when more bodies turn up, dead all over.
With the firsthand knowledge he acquired over forty years in journalism, John Darnton conjures up the cynicism and romanticism of the profession and gives us a cunning, pitch-perfect portrait of the declining—if not yet murderous—newspaper industry and a mystery that entertains from first to last.