*A 2016 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel
*Winner of the 2016 Nero Wolfe Award for Best American Mystery
David C. Taylor's Night Life 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.
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On New Year's Eve 1953, police detective Michael Cassidy, the hero of Taylor's strong debut (and the first in a new historical crime series), has a run-in on a Manhattan street with Roy Cohn, Joseph McCarthy's lawyer in the Wisconsin senator's Communist-hunting subcommittee. "You're going to hear from me," Cohn says after getting Cassidy's name. "Always a pleasure to hear from a citizen, Mr. Cohen," Cassidy replies. Meanwhile, a Broadway dancer is found tortured to death in his Hell's Kitchen apartment. The killer was apparently searching for something that, as Cassidy soon discovers, the FBI, the CIA, and mob boss Frank Costello all want. Cassidy concludes that it must be evidence that would incriminate a very powerful person. The suspense mounts with the body count. Readers will want to see more of the distinctive Cassidy, whose wealthy background as the son of a Broadway producer puts him at odds with his fellow cops.
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With each new book that I read I have a greater appreciation for what distinguishes an average writer from a great writer. David C. Taylor is a great writer, with an original and plausible story that weaves fictional and non-fictional characters into a highly suspenseful and enjoyable plot. He does a great job of setting the stage in post-war America with clear descriptions of the city, clothing styles, mentalities of the time and lots and lots of smoking. That was the only thing that seemed a bit overdone. In the sequel I hope that our hero does not die of lung cancer. Joking aside, great book!