If this book were a film I would describe this as Film Noir. Is there such a term as Book Noir? I don’t know, but Noir is the best way for me to describe the feeling of how this book was written. The setting is post World Wars, when the government played on the fear of its citizens going on communist witch hunts. Speakeasy’s were commonplace, and jazz music was popular. The story follows a cop, Michael Cassidy, who is as deeply layered as the city of New York was at that time. An ex-soldier, Cassidy came home from the war restless and found his calling as a cop, instead of following his family into show business. Cassidy’s current case where a man has been tortured to death, takes him on a journey of self discovery, where his personal life becomes the impetus to solving this crime. Clues lead him backstage on Broadway, and directly into the path of one of the governments Communist witch hunters.
The following synopsis was taken directly from the publishers website us.macmillan.com.
Night Life by David C. Taylor takes us back to New York City in 1954.
The Cold War is heating up. Senator Joe McCarthy is running a witch hunt for Communists in America. The newly formed CIA is fighting a turf battle with the FBI to see who will be the primary US intelligence agency. And the bodies of murdered young men are turning up in the city.
Michael Cassidy has an unusual background for a New York cop. His father, a refugee from Eastern Europe, is a successful Broadway producer. His godfather is Frank Costello, a Mafia boss. Cassidy also has an unusual way of going about the business of being a cop-maybe that’s why he threw a fellow officer out a third story window of the Cortland Hotel.
Cassidy is assigned to the case of Alexander Ingram, a Broadway chorus dancer found tortured and dead in his apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. Complications grow as other young men are murdered one after the other. And why are the FBI, the CIA, and the Mafia interested in the death of a Broadway gypsy?
Meanwhile, a mysterious, beautiful woman moves into Cassidy’s building in Greenwich Village. Is Dylan McCue a lover or an enemy? Cassidy is plagued by nightmares-dreams that sometimes become reality. And he has been dreaming that someone is coming to kill him.
David C. Taylor did an amazing job of setting the scene and giving us a backstage look into an era that most of us only know of from the movies. He breaks down the glamour of Broadway, the grittiness of the jazz clubs, and the day to day aspects of the people who live in that time by giving us a flawed protagonist to follow. Michael Cassidy, living in the 1950’s, has the same issues as those of us in the 2000’s. He doesn’t have a lot of respect for authority, has a bad temper, and has a great love for his family, even though they don’t always get along. Taylor also gives us insights into the beginnings of the FBI, it’s relationship, or lack of one with the CIA, and the fallacies of our law enforcement and government at that time.
I read this book and was riveted by the era, taken by the man- Michael Cassidy, and enveloped by the mystery he was unraveling. Pick this book up, you won’t be disappointed!
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Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads