From Emmy-nominated screenwriter Gordon Greisman, The Devil’s Daughter is a noir thriller full of the best—and worst—of New York City in the 1950s.
Most nights PI Jack Coffey can be found hanging out in smoky Greenwich Village jazz clubs with well-known mobsters, jazzmen, and hoods. So, when an uptown financier calls him in for a job, it seems like he’s headed for tonier climes. But it turns out the view from Louis Garrett’s lavish penthouse overlooks the same vice-ridden Manhattan streets, which explains why he’s so desperate to find his missing teenage daughter, Lucy.
When Jack’s search for Lucy leads him to swanky nightclubs packed with well-dressed pimps and wealthy drug dealers, he begins to wonder if Garrett is really concerned about his daughter’s welfare or if he simply fears she may reveal his own shocking secrets. After an attack outside Jack’s own apartment and Lucy‘s boyfriend is found floating face down in the East River, the story kicks into high gear.
But death threats, crooked cops, lies, or ugly truths can’t stop Jack from finishing the job—whether an angel or a devil, Lucy is still a kid in danger, and Jack will do whatever it takes to find her.
Slick pacing and well-drawn details strengthen screenwriter Greisman's otherwise familiar debut, a mid-century noir concerning crooked cops and disappeared daughters. In 1957 New York City, private investigator Jack Coffey is persuaded by childhood acquaintance Richie Costello—now the executive secretary to the archbishop of New York—to locate Lucy, the 16-year-old daughter of a powerful parishioner named Louis Garret. Louis, a filthy-rich Manhattan financier, is offering 10 grand as a retainer and another 10 as a bonus if Jack brings his daughter home safe and sound. However, after consultations with an associate of Louis's and a friend of Lucy's, Jack struggles to determine if Lucy is really the innocent girl her father implies, or if she poses a threat to the people around her. When Lucy's rumored boyfriend, handsome philanderer Rex Halsey, is found dead in the East River, Jack realizes he's caught in a web far more complicated than he initially imagined, and before long, he's chasing down mobsters in hopes they don't pick him off first. Though seasoned genre fans will find much of the plotting routine, Coffey, who pals around with famous actors and jazz musicians, is a hugely winning protagonist, and Greisman keeps his foot on the gas throughout. A sequel would be welcome.