Night Life – David C. Taylor

Night LifeQuite possibly the best crime noir novel that I have read in a long time!

It’s 1954 and a tough time to be in American. Senator Joe McCarthy is holding hearings on communism and accusing people without contest.  It’s good to be a capitalist; anything else, not so much.  In New York City, Detective Michael Cassidy performs his job the best that he can.  He has a decent relationship with his brother and sister.  His relationship with his father became estranged after his mother’s death.  And he hasn’t been able to keep a love relationship steady.  Then two events radically change Michael’s life.  This first is when he is pursuing a robbery suspect on New Year’s Eve and finally apprehends him against a limousine at the entrance to the Waldrof.  A young man waiting on the limousine demands that he get the guy removed so he can leave, but Michael doesn’t care what he wants.  The young man is no other than Roy Cohn, Senator McCarthy’s pit-bull for communists.  The second event is a murder that he begins to investigate until the FBI pulls rank.  Not less than three days after the murder, a young woman moves into the apartment across from Michael who begins to take an interest in him.  When all of these events begin to tie into one another, Michael begins to believe that nothing happens by chance.

If you like to read historical crime novels, then you will love this book. David C. Taylor performed a large about of research for this book and it shows through.  I love it when I read something like this in fiction then I have to go research the key events myself to find out how accurate that they are.  The relationships that he shows between Roy Cohn and G. David Schine as well as Clyde Tolson and J. Edgar Hoover play out great.  Even though they are tertiary characters, the events still line up well historically.  Taylor’s background in screenwriting gives the story great momentum and it never lets up.  Every time a chapter ends, I just wanted to keep going until I found out what happened next.

The character personalities were all very believable. Cassidy and Orso played off each other great.  The subtle humor and occasional sarcasm made them seem like true partners that have spent a lot of time together.  Each character came to life quickly and was easily pictured in my mind.  The only drawback that I had was the harsh language, which there was a lot of.  I always feel that the story can be conveyed without the use of it, which is why I docked half a star.  Other than that, it was great.  I look forward to new novels by David C. Taylor.