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Publisher's Summary

With a pulse-pounding murder plot and a protagonist caught between police and Mafia ties, Night Life is the first in a transporting historical crime fiction series set in 1950s New York City.

New York City, 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 United States intelligence agency, and the bodies of murdered young men are turning up all over 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.

©2015 David C. Taylor (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Keith Szarabajka ferries listeners back to McCarthy-era New York City with such authenticity that they may start seeing their surroundings in black and white.... A delightful pairing of narrator and story makes Night Life a superb audiobook." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrific noir mystery

I enjoyed this mystery very much. The characters were fleshed out, dialogue was credible, the story kept me hooked, and the historical aspect was interesting - specifically regarding the political atmosphere of the Red Scare, but also in general through the depiction of life in NYC in 1950's. I will seek out more written by Mr. Taylor (and narrated by Mr. Szarabajka - fantastic).

38 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • CAMP HILL, Pennsylvania
  • 01-29-16

More!

Where does Night Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is apparently the first title in a new series of crime fiction set in the 1905s, and Night Life is a stunning start. Taylor, apparently, isn't a babe in the woods even though this seems to be his first novel. (Or the first one published under his own name.) But he's been a busy guy. It looks like he's written thrillers before, but as a script writer for film and TV. And he produced some documentaries, including one about Graham Greene. What's fascinating about this book is not only the gorgeous writing, but the level of expertise/research. He apparently knows everything there is to know about New York in the 50s, police behavior, loading cargo ships, management of the Waldorf Astoria and Broadway gypsies -- and that's just for starters. What a BOOK. Thank you Jessie Kornbluth, who recommended it.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

This is a terrific book.

What made the experience of listening to Night Life the most enjoyable?

The narrator is great, Keith Szarabajka. I had never heard of either of these guys before, but they both are just excellent at what they do. The book keeps twisting and turning around the protagonist, Michael Cassidy, who is a NYPD cop that looks like the beginning of a very good series. The plot is so inventive that you can't possibly guess what is coming next. There are a lot of bodies falling, for the squeamish among you (just as a warning) but if you can get past that, the book is extremely rewarding.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Night Life?

I have been an avid reader of this kind of stuff for decades. It is always interesting to see how the cop behaves in his relationships with women. Mr. Taylor takes Cassidy off the hook in this area, by...(I won't tell you. I'm no spoiler.) So many of the books are written in and about New York City, that the city itself appears as a character in the book, as they say. The scene in which Michael is tracking Dylan by jumping across rooftops is just riveting. The last scene in this section is blood-curdling. Cassidy flirts with death in deeply ambivalent fashion.

Which scene was your favorite?

Yes. His knowledge of law enforcement is vast, not just the NYPD, but also the FBI, the CIA and a number of other agencies. He presents his knowledge in a way that weaves it into the plot, which is the thing. He does not show off what an expert he is, but you do get the point.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Absolutely nothing. He has that gravelly quality that I have always found rewarding to listen to (in music as well: Leon Russell, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and many others). It is not similar to music in any way, but the nuances in his voice are delightful.

Any additional comments?

Buy it. Read it. Have fun. Block out a significant amount of time.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martha
  • Marfa, TX, United States
  • 04-12-16

terrific in every way

This would get my vote for one of the best audio books of the year (and I listen to a LOT of audio books). Can't-put-it-down story, just enough blood (but not too much), just a tiny bit of torture (seemingly a requirement for all crime fiction these days), humanely-drawn characters . A dash of humor and wit throughout. And the reader is absolutely perfect.

50 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great entertainment!

This book is a truly enjoyable thriller. Set in the 1950s, the author captures both the political and social atmosphere in excellent detail without it distracting from the story.
The narration is excellent and I definitely recommend this book.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 08-10-16

Perfect! 15 Stars!

I can't ask for more from a or hard-boiled detective novel. There's simply nothing missing plus there's J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Coen! Two of history's darkest characters.
said C. Taylor is a master writer, he passes every test. I've just downloaded "Night Work" the next in this Michael Cassidy series.

Yep, I totally enjoyed every swerve in this twisty plot and the ensemble that Keith Szarabajka created.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding "Can't put it down" book.

What made the experience of listening to Night Life the most enjoyable?

Ideal combination of realistic engaging characters, a GREAT story line, unpredictable twists and turns along with a perfect narration.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Night Life?

Too many for one to stand out though especially enjoyed the cheeky dialogue and the amazing, detailed step back in time to the early 50's

What about Keith Szarabajka’s performance did you like?

Very well paced and effective variety of character voices that made a great book even more entertaining

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Really enjoyed the skilled "who done it" told in the context of an entertaining immersion in early 50's pop culture

Any additional comments?

I am a very tough grader but will give Night Life an A+ and hope there's another coming out soon !!!

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Literary Noir

I love film noir, and this story is the equivilant of reading a great black-and-white noir movie. Plenty of action, snappy dialogue, read with just the right level of toughness and drama by Keith Szarabajka.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best book I've listened to in awhile!

Noir atmosphere, snappy dialogue, attention to detail pertaining to the period the story is set and immersive narrative makes this more than worth a listen. Loved it! No complaints

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Riveting

Loved the story and the narrator. Tough act to follow in a good way. Thanks for the entertainment.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful