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Tabloid City: A Novel

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Overview

In a stately West Village town house, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered. In the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity surrounds their shocking deaths:

The head of one of the city's last tabloids stops the presses. A cop investigates the killing. A reporter chases the story. A disgraced hedge fund manager flees the country. An Iraq War vet seeks revenge. And an angry young extremist plots a major catastrophe.

The City is ...

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Tabloid City: A Novel

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Overview

In a stately West Village town house, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered. In the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity surrounds their shocking deaths:

The head of one of the city's last tabloids stops the presses. A cop investigates the killing. A reporter chases the story. A disgraced hedge fund manager flees the country. An Iraq War vet seeks revenge. And an angry young extremist plots a major catastrophe.

The City is many things: a proving ground, a decadent carnival, or a palimpsest of memories—a historic metropolis eclipsed by modern times. As much a thriller as it is a gripping portrait of the city of today, Tabloid City is a new fiction classic from the writer who has captured New York perfectly for decades.

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Editorial Reviews

<b>Susan Salter Reynolds</b> - Los Angeles Times
PRAISE FOR TABLOID CITY:

"Murder and mayhem...a ticking time bomb of a novel."

<b>Alan Cheuse</b> - San Francisco Chronicle
"Engrossing...A gritty tone-poem in prose on New York City life--and death."
Sheryl Connelly - New York Daily News
"This is the veteran journalist at his best....Tabloid City stands as both an authentic thriller as well as a farewell to the city that was Hamill's New York."
Alan Cheuse
Engrossing...A gritty tone-poem in prose on New York City life—and death.
San Francisco Chronicle
Sheryl Connelly
This is the veteran journalist at his best....Tabloid City stands as both an authentic thriller as well as a farewell to the city that was Hamill's New York.
New York Daily News
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR NORTH RIVER:

"Lovely, richly textured....Is there another living writer with as firm a grasp on the city's sidewalks, its buildings, its history?"—Scott Stephens, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Hamill's love story casts an engaging spell, and Manhattan-lovers will delight in the gritty particulars."—Tanner Stransky, Entertainment Weekly

"North River seduces us with the author's sweetly convinced nostalgia for his city....Hamill's a smart guy and a fluent writer, and few people have written quite so beautifully about New York as he has."—Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times

"Hamill has crafted a beautiful novel, rich in New York City detail and ambience, that showcases the power of human goodness and how love, in its many forms, can prevail in an unfair world."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Scott Stephens - Cleveland Plain Dealer
PRAISE FOR NORTH RIVER:

"Lovely, richly textured....Is there another living writer with as firm a grasp on the city's sidewalks, its buildings, its history?"

Tanner Stransky - Entertainment Weekly
"Hamill's love story casts an engaging spell, and Manhattan-lovers will delight in the gritty particulars."
The Barnes & Noble Review

Pete Hamill has written many love letters to New York City, in fiction, journalism, and memoir. With his latest novel, he's written a nostalgic love letter to the New York City daily tabloids. Tabloid City shifts perspective among more than a dozen characters, but at its heart is Sam Briscoe, a 71-year-old editor who wears fedoras and trench coats and says "goddamned" a lot. Sam helms the New York World, Gotham's last afternoon tabloid, which, like all newspapers, is "under assault from digitalized artillery."

Tabloids thrive on what Briscoe calls "murder at a good address," and it is a Greenwich Village double homicide, of a socialite and her secretary, that drives the fast-paced but occasionally implausible action here. Cynthia Harding, a wealthy patron of the New York Public Library, is found stabbed to death in her townhouse along with her employee Mary Lou Watson. Harding is Briscoe's longtime companion; Watson's husband is an NYPD counter-terrorism officer who worries that their estranged son, Malik, a radical Muslim, is connected to the crime. The novel's action spans one day, and its dizzying number of characters includes an elderly artist, a Bernie Madoff-esque swindler, a Mexican cleaning lady, a disabled Iraq veteran, a bitter gossip blogger, and a young reporter. Most of them are connected in some way, and circumstances throw most of them together at the scene of the novel's terrorism-related climax.

In addition to being a thriller, however, the novel is a sentimental elegy for the "profane, laughing city room" of yore, thick with cigarette smoke and the sound of clacking typewriters. As Briscoe deals with the death of his beloved Cynthia, he also faces an ominous early-morning meeting with the World's despised young publisher, who is rumored to be shutting down the print version of the paper. Hamill's long journalistic career includes stints at the New York Post and the New York Daily News, where he served as editor-in-chief. In Tabloid City, which is narrated in a clipped, journalistic voice, the author reveals the most affection for the noble and doomed newspaper employees. Briscoe and Helen Loomis, the two veterans of the World's newsroom, pine for the past, romanticizing even those elements we're presumably better off without. Briscoe makes a sneering reference to the fact that the members of the online staff probably don't smoke, while Loomis, forced to trudge outside for her hourly cigarette, longingly recalls the good old days with "the reporters cursing and laughing, making sexist remarks, and racist jokes."

But if much has changed, some things still remain: Hamill seems to suggest that hope lives in the talented rookie reporter Bobby Fonseca, who, after receiving his first press card from Briscoe, "wore it to bed for a month, like it was a dog tag." He's not a smoker, and he'll probably end up working for the paper's digital version, but he still has the soul of a newspaperman. Glancing at one of the subway system's ubiquitous "If you see something, say something" signs, he thinks, "Nah, if I see something, I write something. I'm a reporter, man."

--Barbara Spindel




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316020763
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/22/2012
  • Pages: 278
  • Sales rank: 482,267
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor, and screenwriter. He is the author of 20 previous books including the bestselling novels Forever and Snow in August and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life. He lives in New York City.

Biography

Throughout his colorful career as a writer, New York City has been a constant backdrop and inspiration for Pete Hamill -- from his success at several New York newspapers and magazines to his look back at A Drinking Life to his latest sweeping novel about a man gifted with immortality in the city he calls home: Forever.

Born in Brooklyn in 1935 as the first of seven children to Irish immigrant parents, Hamill attended Catholic schools throughout his childhood. More in tune with the city streets than the schoolroom, he dropped out at 16 to labor in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheet metal worker, and from there signed up with the U.S. Navy, where he was able to eventually complete his high school education. The G.I. Bill of Rights helped him gain admission to Mexico City College in 1956-1957, where he was a student of art and design.

While Hamill fell in love with Mexico (and would eventually come to consider it his second home), his interest in design brought him back to New York to study at Pratt Institute. However, in 1960, he made the fateful career move that would change his life: taking a job as a beat reporter for The New York Post. Hamill's pavement-pounding work made him a crafty chronicler of city life -- from the grimy streets of the crime beat to the chaotic uprisings of the 1960s -- and he graduated to columnist. Soon after, he made the slightly scandalous move to the Post's rival paper, The New York Daily News. Perhaps one of Hamill's most intriguing achievements in New York journalism is the fact that he served as editor-in-chief of both papers -- the city's two most notoriously competitive dailies.

Hamill's nonfiction books have resonated with readers craving more than a few column inches. His 1994 memoir, A Drinking Life, was, as Publishers Weekly noted, "not a jeremiad condemning drink... but a thoughtful, funny, street-smart reflection on its consequences." Turning his attention to other lives, Hamill has also written tributes to idols Frank Sinatra (1998's Why Sinatra Matters) and Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1999's Diego Rivera).

Hamill has also enjoyed critical and commercial success as a fiction writer. His 1997 novel, Snow in August, was an instant New York Times bestseller. On the gritty coming-of-age story, the Times observed, "Mr. Hamill has told versions of this story many times, in fiction and journalism. But in his new novel...Mr. Hamill adds magic. Hamill is not a subtle writer, but his gift for sensual description and his tabloid muscularity fit this page turner of a fable."

2002's Forever brings Hamill's street smarts and near-encyclopedic knowledge of New York City together with his gift for spinning a story. Perhaps his most ambitious work yet, the novel traces the history of Manhattan through the eyes of a man who has watched it unfold for the better part of two centuries -- thanks to an otherworldly wish he is granted. It's likely Hamill's secret wish as well.

Good To Know

Since the 1950s, Hamill has had a keen interest in Mexico and considers it his home away from home. As a reporter, he covered the events in Tlatelolco in 1968, the Olympic Games that followed, and a major earthquake in 1985. For six months in 1986, he served as editor of The Mexico City News.

He is married to Japanese journalist Fukiko Aoki and has two grown daughters -- one a poet, the other a photographer for the Arizona Republic in Phoenix.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York, and Cuernavaca, Mexico
    1. Date of Birth:
      1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      Mexico City College, 1956-1957; Pratt Institute
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A very New York novel!

    A violent crime draws together a cast of characters that find themselves interconnected in other ways. The crime, the intertwined social network, and these unusual characters give us an unsentimental picture of New York during the recession. We meet:

    * Lew Forrest of the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, an aging and successful painter who has lost his sight. His closest companion is Camus, a black labrador;
    * Cynthia Harding of Greenwich Village, a socialite particularly committed to the New York City libraries and literacy. Her longtime lover is Sam Briscoe of the New York World;
    * Sandra Gordon, whose precociousness at a dinner party in Jamaica drew the attention, sympathy, and mentorship of Cynthia Harding. From children's books to a passport and education, Cynthia helped Sandra find her place;
    * Sam Briscoe, the editor of New York World, the last afternoon newspaper in New York and a fixture in journalism circles;
    * Bobby Fonseca, a young journalist, who lives and breathes his work;
    * Ali Watson of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, a New York City homicide detective;
    * Malik Shahid, a young New Yorker turned religious fanatic/fundamentalist;
    * Josh Thompson, a veteran from the wars in the Middle East who has lost his home and his family and is on the streets of New York;
    * Beverly Starr, an artist from Gowanus, Brooklyn;
    * Consuelo Mendoza, an illegal immigrant from Mexico living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; and
    * Myles Compton, a hedgefund manager whose bad investments and shady dealings lead him to abscond in the night.

    While each of the personalities are carefully constructed, I was particularly drawn to the women who are given central roles in the novel. Sandra Gordon is a secondary character but her strength, independence and vulnerability all come across so clearly. The interaction between the aging and nearly blind painter Lew Forrest and his long lost muse, Consuelo Mendoza is particularly touching. Even the socialite Cynthia Harding who only appears briefly is complex and fleshed out. Through a high profile murder and its aftermath, Tabloid City gives a fascinating and unsentimental glimpse of today's New York.

    ISBN-10: 0316020753 - Hardcover
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 5, 2011), 288 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Crime within a crime story

    Pete Hamill knows the newspaper business and does one helluva job of helping readers grasp all that's going by the wayside in the transition to a world that may not care to read words in ink on paper.

    "Tabloid City" is a crime story, a violent story laced with the language of the New York gutter, one told in an interesting way, one character at a time. Most "chapters" could pass for 750-word newspaper columns.

    Frankly, the plot that builds so nicely loses a bit of steam and turns predictable. But I'm not sure the "crime" that Hamill has captured isn't less the cops-versus-bad guys story than the crime of the loss of newspapering the way it used to be.

    Hamill's newspaper characters ring true, and the loss of the skills -- really, that lifestyle -- that newspaper people have, that loss, that's the real crime.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Past and the Future

    Tabloid City is a sad book with multliple storylines. On the day that Sam Briscoe, long-time editor of the World newspaper finds out that the print edition will be discontinued and the newspaper will only appear online, he also learns of the brutal murder of his girlfirend Cynthia Harding and her assistant in Cynthia's home. At the same time, young Malik is trying to find money so his 'ready-to-give-birth' girlfriend can go to a hospital. He has kept her locked in an abandoned building. Josh Thompson, a disabled Iraq war veteran stuck in a wheel chair, has a Mac-10 that he plans on using to get revenge.

    The fact that these diverse stories can come together into a believable, engrossing tale is no small feat. Pete Hamill does a fantastic job of both having old time newspaper people, Sam and Helen Loomis, reminisce about the journalism heydays gone by and exploring the future of news. He tells readers about the world as it really is, full of new technology and old terrorism, of the results of war and the efforts of the few to make life better for everyone.

    Tabloid City is filled with great characters (ones you both love and hate) and engrossing storylines. It is a sad book evoking little, but some, hope for the future. YOu will revel in the references to a 'better time' and feel heartbroken at some of the events that take place. Needless to say, you will not walk away from Tabloid City without it having called up some emotion. A highly recommended read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2014

    Tabloid City

    A great read from a great writer!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    Cirrus

    She walked around the abandoned city and thought. Kicking a soda can around, she saw a small bakery that had bread in the window. Running, she opened the door and grabbed two loaves quickly. She sat in a corner and ate one. It was stale, but she didn't. She saved the other one and ran back to lowlands.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Loved It

    Loved how the story was from all the characters point of view and that it was written based on the time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I read Tabloid City a second time to see why so many of the revi

    I read Tabloid City a second time to see why so many of the reviews are critical, suggesting that Hamill was just phoning it in. I beg to disagree. Each vignette is carefully constructed and well-written. I think the problem is that the individual tales don't always connect well, and, when seen as a whole make for a less than acceptable plot. So averaging all of the reviews gets us to three stars, just where I think it should be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Nookville moving to nookville all results

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Tabloid City

    This story takes place within a twenty-four hour period in New York City. It revolves around the lives of a large group of people that do not seem to have any connection to one another. After the murder of two women, we follow segment of each of these people's lives (the author has conveniently giving us the person time and place above each slice of this pie).

    The central character is newspaper editor Sam Briscoe who is trying to keep a dying industry alive. Pete Hamill has crafted a story about New York City and the tortured people who live there. Although, I lived in the city for thirteen years, this novel didn't connect with me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 1, 2011

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    Posted July 1, 2011

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    Posted September 25, 2011

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    Posted May 18, 2011

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    Posted May 29, 2011

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    Posted May 9, 2011

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    Posted August 2, 2011

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    Posted May 13, 2014

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    Posted July 29, 2011

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    Posted May 19, 2011

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    Posted October 14, 2011

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