Reviews for Manhattan Nocturne : A Novel
Kirkus Reviews 1996 July
~ In fair homage to the noir tradition, Harrison (Bodies Electric, 1993, etc.) turns all of Manhattan into one man's personal sinkhole, where he can indulge a passion for moment-of- death stories and the twists elevating brute violence into tragedy. Porter Wren, a tabloid columnist specializing in the human face of death, has climbed to success in part by subverting a real talent for exposing corruption in the city. He has two precious kids, and is married to one of New York's best surgeons, but none of that seems to matter when a beautiful woman approaches him at a party. He finds her mesmerizing and the story she tells of her husband, an acclaimed filmmaker whose body turned up in a building being demolished and whose murder remains unsolved, fascinating. Porter wants more of the story and of her; the next day she takes him to bed, then opens a trunk of tapes her husband left behind, videos that are clandestine scenes of real life and death. Told by his publisher (a ruthless Australian with a worldwide publishing empire built on tabloids--sound familiar?) to retrieve one that he finds compromising, Porter courts disaster when he can't locate it. He does find a tape of an NYPD officer being murdered, a case also unsolved, but he no sooner informs a friend on the force about it than he's beaten and the tape stolen by the publishers' goons. When his toddler is wounded by another intruder on the Aussie's payroll, Porter retaliates, tracking down the material so feared by his boss. In the process, however, he learns his lover's secret too, with a glimpse into her black heart that both ends their affair and binds them uncomfortably together in a lethal conspiracy of silence. Sordid stuff sure to tickle any voyeur's fancy, written with skill and considerable visceral force--even if occasionally straying beyond the credible. (Author tour) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal Reviews 1996 May
A man risks the safety of his family to probe an unsolved murder. From the author of Bodies Electric (LJ 3/15/93). Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal Reviews 1996 August
This third novel by Harrison (e.g, Bodies Electric, LJ 3/15/93) tells of a cynical, burned-out Manhattan tabloid columnist, Porter Wren, who is seduced by a beautiful woman who, not coincidently, agonizes over the unsolved murder of her famous husband. The resourceful Wren investigates, ultimately endangering his family by provoking an evil billionaire while agonizing over his infidelity. Manhattan Nocturne rehashes the same theme of Harrison's earlier novels: A relatively wealthy man must come to terms with his small evils while working to right a larger, societal evil. Incessant name-dropping and an anticlimactic ending shave some points from what is otherwise a well-written, very entertaining story peopled by intriguing and fully fleshed characters. Ultimately, this will do well in popular fiction collections, but one can't help but expect better from this author. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/96.] Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal" Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 July #4
If it weren't for the miles of dangerous videotape that snake through this marvelous story, binding its participants to each other and to their ever more elaborate lies, Harrison's latest (after Bodies Electric) could take place in the Manhattan of 40 years ago. The nostalgia is so palpable that the opening scenes conjure images of a jaded reporter sidling through the city's midnight shadows, intent on getting "the story." Porter Wren (returning from earlier Harrison novels) is a columnist for a New York daily tabloid, happily married with two kids and a terrifying mortgage, when he's approached at a swank party by a woman who in earlier parlance would have been called a "dame." She's Caroline Crowley, widow of hot young filmmaker Simon Crowley. Not even Wren's native cynicism cues him to Caroline's real intentions until he has compromised himself and his family's safety. Crowley was found mysteriously dead in a Lower East Side lot; more than a year later, his murder remains unsolved, but that doesn't seem to be foremost on Caroline's mind. Her current predicament concerns the monstrous billionaire who owns Wren's paper, and who believes a mystery video that has been turning up repeatedly in his office must be coming from her. All Caroline asks is that Wren find the original video, which has nothing to do with Simon's death?maybe. But as Wren was advised years earlier by a washed-up journalist, "It's all one story." Harrison shows the truth of this maxim as he deftly connects dozens of far-flung characters?a pair of sad, dotty lawyers in Queens, a spurned lover who shot his fiancee, a nanny in Wren's service?and as many Manhattan locales into a breathtaking collage. His prose brims with the anguish and joy, the guilt and regret and recklessness, of hundreds of the city's voices. He proves that it is all one story?and one that will keep readers enthralled. Author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1997 September #2
PW's starred review said Harrison's prose "brims with the anguish and joy, the guilt and regret and recklessness, of hundreds of the city's voices." (Oct.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews