In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. He is looking for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul.
A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: The dead boy looks too clean, and he's wearing a distinctive army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor's efforts to protect Voichek put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to city hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom: young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. But time is not on his side, and if he doesn't wrap this story up soon, he'll be back on the obits page - as a headline, not a byline.
This first in a series features 34-year-old reporter Coleridge Taylor. As indicated in the publisher's blurb, Taylor was demoted from the police beat for "inventing sources" and forced to write obituaries. It seems as if the whole world is against him, his editors, the police, everyone except his colleague and protégé Laura Wheeler. Many years younger than Taylor, I could understand her admiration for his dedication to crime news and his investigative intensity, but it was less clear what was the sexual attraction she found in him. But each to his/her own. Once he gets his teeth into a lead, he will pursue it with a passion. It's a short book, without a lot of filler, and moves along steadily, building excitement. The story progresses much like a police procedural.
This was the first time I listened to a book narrated by Donald Corren, but he was very good. I look forward to listening to the second in this series.