When Boston's most beloved public figure, Councillor Philip Stewart, is murdered in his home, the city is stricken with grief. As Boston reels from the shock of such a tragedy, newspapers across the city scramble to get the biggest story in this city's recent history. Who would wish harm upon a man regarded as a sainted soul who dedicated his life to helping the poor and downtrodden? The Boston Post has put its best investigative reporter on the case. Frank Cronin has achieved near celebrity status himself as a ...
When Boston's most beloved public figure, Councillor Philip Stewart, is murdered in his home, the city is stricken with grief. As Boston reels from the shock of such a tragedy, newspapers across the city scramble to get the biggest story in this city's recent history. Who would wish harm upon a man regarded as a sainted soul who dedicated his life to helping the poor and downtrodden? The Boston Post has put its best investigative reporter on the case. Frank Cronin has achieved near celebrity status himself as a shrewd, tireless journalist who always manages to get his story - even if it means bending the rules, ignoring conventional wisdom, or bucking political pressures. Before long, while rival papers are still printing their glowing eulogies, Cronin is hunting down the story no one else wants to know about. In death, facts about Councillor Philip Stewart are emerging that raise troubling questions about the true nature of his life, his character, and his deeds. As Cronin persists in stripping back the facade that in life made Stewart such a beloved public figure, the trouble begins. With pressure mounting to leave the dead man's reputation alone, Cronin must put everything on the line - his job, his reputation, even his life - as he decides just how much of the truth to tell. Digging ever deeper into Stewart's past, Cronin moves inexorably closer to unmasking the killer and his motive - but just when you think you know exactly what to expect, the story takes a stunning turn.
Smart, tightly written and full of compelling background details, Kenney's debut earns a place near the head of the crime fiction pack. The story begins with the murder of Philip Stewart, Boston city councilman and a political icon with an unblemished reputation as a do-gooder for the down-and-out and the patron saint of a variety of liberal causes. When the Post calls on ace investigative reporter Frank Cronin to delve into the seemingly dead-end case, his efforts gradually reveal Stewart as a plaster saint whose dealings ranged from extortion to laundering mob money. The full extent of the corruption, however, isn't disclosed until the novel's shocking finale, which links police, press and politicians in a tangled web of urban payback and political retribution. Kenney, a Boston Globe reporter, makes splendid use of his insider's knowledge of the local political and journalistic scene to flesh out his plot and characters, while he sure-handedly uses flashbacks and occasional red herrings to build suspense. Despite minor shortcomings (the intrusion of stilted headline jargon, a mawkish subplot involving a rekindled romance), Kenney maintains a gripping level of tension; his mastery of the form marks him as a talent to watch. (Apr.)
Kenney (Riding the Runaway Horse, LJ 3/1/92) places his characters in a sticky situation created by the murder of a much-loved Boston city councilor. Frank Cronin, the Boston Post's best investigative reporter, digs into the apparently motiveless killing because a tip from policeman friend Thomas McCormack impugns the victim's reputation. Cronin soon finds evidence of stealthy extortion and embezzlement, which leads him to an unexpected murderer. Meanwhile, his romantic involvement with the assistant district attorney provides a welcome sideline. A solid, entrancing first work that bodes well for the future.