Few authors are as synonymous with New York City as Pete Hamill, so it is fitting that the Brooklyn-bred darling of The Post and The Daily News returns with a story as frenetic, complicated, harrowing and alive as his beloved town.
We begin Tabloid City at midnight with Sam Briscoe, an aging editor of a daily newspaper, putting the next day’s afternoon edition to bed. But the night is far from over in the city that never sleeps, and anything could happen before the ink hits the page. In the depths of Brooklyn, a young woman cries out for her mother as she suffers the throes of childbirth alone. A legless veteran of the Iraq War wheels through the Upper East Side looking for a place to sleep. An angry young terrorist plots a desperate, defiant act. A cop heading home to an empty house has the terrible instinct that something is dreadfully wrong. And after an elegant dinner party, a socialite—Sam Briscoe’s girlfriend—and her longtime secretary are ruthlessly murdered.
As the night and following day progress, Hamill weaves these seemingly unrelated stories together in a cohesive narrative, showing both the deep chasms and the uncanny connections between the city’s many threads. He writes with an almost cinematic flair, evoking films like Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and Paul Haggis’ Crash, and as with those movies, the links in the story can at times feel overwhelmingly coincidental, while characters and neighborhoods border on cliché. But despite these flaws, Hamill is, as always, a consummate storyteller, and his prose vibrates with raw energy. With a little suspension of disbelief, Tabloid City is an exciting, thought-provoking read.