The second book in David C. Taylor's transporting historical crime-fiction series.
Michael Cassidy, a New York cop plagued by dreams that sometimes come true, escorts a prisoner accused of murder to Havana on the cusp of Fidel Castro's successful revolution against the Batista dictatorship. After delivering the man to La Cabaña prison and rescuing his former lover - Dylan McCue, now a Russian KGB agent - from her scheduled execution, Cassidy returns to New York and retreats into the comforts of alcohol and sex.
The arrival of Fidel Castro in New York three months later complicates the cop's life once more. Cassidy's investigation of a young man's murder in Central Park is interrupted when he is assigned to Castro's protective detail.
Castro has many enemies. American mobsters who have been run out of Havana, businessmen who worry about their investments in Cuba, and members of Batista's secret police all want him dead. Cassidy is already investigating one murder. Can he prevent another?
©2016 David C. Taylor (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Returning for Taylor's second Michael Cassidy crime novel, Keith Szarabajka delivers another stellar performance.... From his subtle indications of frustration or amusement to his pitch-perfect array of accents, Szarabajka is completely in control. His husky voice fills the bar rooms with smoke and the mobsters with venom. This series is pure audio perfection." (AudioFile)
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
These questions make me tired. Kind of like asking actors "What was it like working with X?" Both of the books, which I will review together, fit into a genre: rogue detectives, often of the NYPD, often sad guys who drink to drown their manifold sorrows, go off the tracks and recklessly pursue their vision of justice. And they always, I mean always, get in trouble with their superiors, who are forever telling them to settle down, take a few days off, etc. Having said that, this book is very well written and very well narrated, the latter by a man I've never heard before, Keith, I'll just say, Sz.
Not on the edge of my seat, which might be risky at my tender age, but it held my interest for sure. Michael is confronted by the FBI, double-crossed by his partner whom he very generously forgives in the end. Michael also has a peripatetic relationship with a woman named Dylan McCue, whose allegiance is truly a malleable thing. Of course she is stunning, and of course they have thrilling sex. And she is a crackerjack shot, and a KGB agent to boot. David Taylor, whom I also have not read before, runs his plot all over the place, from New York to Cuba and back, including in the Cuban section the famous gangsters, including Meyer Lansky et. al., the guys who ran the casinos before Castro took over. And, there is another femme fatale, Alice, who...I won't tell you, but it is a great twist.
Just about everything. He is clearly well trained and very skillful. There are a lot of voices to be mastered in these books, and he does them all justice. Also an interesting and unusual twist is Michael's family. His father is a Broadway impresario, as they say, whose life is full of drama (no, really) and beautiful young characters. The one thing that surprises me here is that these books, which seem to be contemporary, are nonetheless set in post-WWII NYC, and Everybody Smokes their faces off. I mean Everybody. This takes up a lot of time, believe it or don't, and you can easily see the similarities to movies of that era, in which cigarettes give the actors the opportunity to do lots of shtick with their hands, faces, meaningful looks, passions smoldering right with the cigs, etc. Imagine Bogie or Cagney or Cary Grant or anybody without some cigarette being lit, or dangling from their fingers, or the smoke dramatically moving across the gorgeous pusses.
Not really. I would like to hear another one of these. Nice work, gentlemen, and you ladies, too. Cut. It's a wrap.
Let me say, before I forget, that Keith Szarabajka is a terrific narrator and I'll be looking for more books read by him.
I think I first noticed the two books--Night Life and Night Work--because I have a friend named David Taylor. As I said when I reviewed the first, I don't go out of my way looking for police procedurals. But Night Life was a 4 and a half, and Night Work turned out to be even better, neater.
Both are set in the the post-WWII years and are framed by actual Cold War events, but that's just scaffolding. The characters, particularly the protagonist, are modern, and what make the stories work. The hero is an outsider, but by choice. I won't give anything away, but Taylor uses the not-Irish family of Cassidy to help define him.
OK, I'll say no more. Just read the books.
One more thing--Taylor has a real talent for good dialogue.
The Wolf Posse
I think the combination of Taylor's vivid characterizations and dialogue combined with the excellent narration by Keith Szaragajka whose command of different voices and accents was what made this book so enjoyable.
Of course, my favorite characters, both of them, were Michael Cassidy and the female Russian KGB spy Dylan. They were heroic but not infallible. They had regrets and heartache for the decisions they had to make. Their connection to each other was tragic and romantic all at once.
I loved the voice Szarabajka did for the Cuban artist Robera. Just the right amount of accent and zest for life which that character seemed to relish as his role in the world of art and politics.
Not is all as it seems in the world of espionage and politics.
David C. Taylor continues to be one of my favorite authors. His skill for storytelling and character development is unparalleled. His stories are compelling and grab your attention from the first sentence. His blending of historical characters and fictional ones is seamless. One of the great crime drama authors of our generation. Keith Sarabajka does a superb job of bringing the characters to life.
I'm hearing teacher voices
Promising new series set in the "Mad Men" era... among the best of its type I've listened to. Reminiscent of Max Allan Collins' Nate Heller novels, with its period history backgrounds, but a bit more grit and a little less focus on "famous historical characters." Taylor manages to achieve some literary depth and still supply the noir action I love. Hope for more.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
David Taylor's once again dropped his NYC detective into a swirl of historical characters to perfectly prowl the 1950s' nights. DON'T BUY THIS BOOK FIRST! Taylor's working on a Michael Cassidy epic and while the first in this series, "Night Life" stands on its own bottom, "Night Work's" improved a lot if you've experienced the earlier book.
Michael Cassidy's a major talent in the tradition of Raymond Chandler. In fact, he's not only learned from Chandler-The-Master of hard-boiled-detective fiction, he exceeds him having learned so much about techniques of pace and place that have evolved since Phillip Marlow was born.
Keith Szarabajka is perfect in his imagining Michael Cassidy and the recurring cast. Pity that Bogey and Bacall are no longer available, but Szarabajka channels them through both "Night Life" and "Night Work."
Oh BTW, Taylor's screenwriting talents trigger warp paced cinematic sets, wardrobe, and grit. I'll preorder the next Cassidy book.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
Forgive the brevity of this review, its my third attempt having lost the first two to internet hell.
This book has a great noir feel much like the movie, LA Confidential. I compare it to the movie, rather than Elroy's novel because like the movie, its much easier to follow the plot than reading anything by James Elroy. (Elroy's writing is genius, but is an acquired taste.) Its a fast and furious rde, full of grit and street justice.
Its hard to put down once you get started.
This book is definitely a worthy addition to the series. It's fairly fast paced, action-packed, and rooted in historical events which lends an extra layer of excitement (at least for me). The narration is excellent and overall I really enjoyed the novel.
The reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because I felt it got a little too convoluted with the multiple stories woven throughout the action. While this worked in the first book, it felt a little forced and boring in this one. In fact I fell asleep while listening and missed about an hour. I didn't bother rewinding. It's still a decent book, but I think it could have been a lot better with some additional editing.
What makes a great audio book is obviously subjective, but I think it's fair to say that if you like hardboiled detective fiction; and/or a dash of McCarthy/Cuba Revolution period intrigue - you'll be clamoring for the next in the series.
Aside from the plot & performance is a great view of life in late 50's (and the flip side of early flower power 60's).
The Dodgers just left New York, Aluminum is just starting to gain traction; and petroleum is just starting to be converted into plastic. Political Correctness is defined in smoke filled back rooms.
Rich in detail about people you'll remember from the period - and a good cop from an upper-class background who just returned from the war - D-day to Berlin, who's just muddling along, doing the best he can with existencial angst.
And- super bonus, a narrator who transports you into it - you can feel the story, not just listen to it.
'cos it is a series right!? please tell me its a series. Great setting and filled with characters you care about. And Keith Szarabajka does a fantastic job bringing the story and characters to life. (will be looking on to other stories natrated by him)
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