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Black and White and Dead All Over Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 29, 2008

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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307267520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307267528
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This fast-paced whodunit entertains on several levels. A domineering, powerful, spiteful editor of a major national newspaper is found murdered with the same spike in his chest that he used to kill reporters' stories. A young, single, clever female detective teams up with a young, single, clever male reporter to solve the case. The evidence points to a multitude of suspects. Then another victim is found dead, and then, still another. Each time, the method of murder is more gruesome, and more telling. Obviously, the murderer (murderers?) is sending a message, but exactly what that message is remains elusive. The suspense mounts, and most readers will remain puzzled to the end. In addition to these elements of a traditional mystery, readers are treated to an inside look at a rapidly changing, and some would say dying, profession of print journalism. With considerable attention to detail, Darnton portrays the key players in this transformation: the resentful old guard, the clueless publisher, the aggressive career builders, the talented but unappreciated reporters, the self-centered columnists, and the ruthless international media tycoon. With abundant wit and panache, the author navigates his way between the rising cliffs of cynicism and romanticism to arrive at some semblance of truth concerning this not-yet-expired institution in our society. The daily newspaper is still alive in America, even if several newspaper workers are dead all over in Darnton's entertaining and enlightening tale.—Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Reviewers for the nation’s major newspapers clearly loved this comic romp through their own stomping grounds. Anyone in the habit of reading the New York Times will have no trouble recognizing a few of the book’s characters, and reporters and editors will probably share a great deal of the author’s gallows humor. After all, Darnton did spend 40 years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for the New York Times, and Black & White is a tribute to an earlier era of reporting. A few critics cited some clunky dialogue and flat characters; others mentioned that only journalists will fully understand the satire and “heart” of the book, and the humor typical of the newsroom. Most, however, described the novel as a highly successful media satire and a page-turning tale of intrigue.
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

Customer Reviews

The characters are well developed, the action fast and the details interesting.
Mitchell I. Gordon
It was like having someone tell a funny joke at a cocktail party; everyone else laughs but you don't get it because you don't speak the language.
Book lover -Philadelphia
The setting permits the author to provide incredible insight into the daily miracle of turning out a newspaper.
Lawrence H. Lieberman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael Koskoff on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading John Darnton's latest novel, "Black and White and Dead All Over", and I can't get the smile off of my face. This satire/allegory is completely unlike Darnton's other books - all sci-fi adventures. In this one Darnton shares his intimate knowledge of newspapers -- gleaned from 40 years of experience as a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times - to create a hysterical murder mystery set in a big city newspaper. (Could it, in fact, be the Times?)
Darnton clearly knows where all the bodies are buried in the news business. No one escapes his knife; from news editors to reporters to headline writers to bloggers. In the end Darnton does to newspapers what Carl Hiassen does to the State of Florida. On many occasions I laughed out loud. The book moves like wildfire and is a joy to read.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Seth Faison on August 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Dark Days at Newspaper" is a headline that could run on the front page of almost any daily paper in America. Advertising, circulation and relevance are heading downward, and with rounds of layoffs and spending cuts, the cranky, daylight-deprived souls who toil away in newspaper offices are understandably gloomy. The blogosphere churns around the clock with portrayals of newspapers as conservative and out of touch, while feeding like maggots on the content those newspapers provide. Right-wing radio bashes newspapers as too liberal. Far worse than all the criticism is the cold reality that there is simply no stopping the technological and generational shift from print to digital in the news business. The old model -- printing news and advertising on large pages of disposable paper -- is sinking steadily toward the basement.

So the dark underground caverns of a prestigious New York newspaper are the right setting for the murder at the outset of "Black and White and Dead All Over" by John Darnton, the author of biology-fiction thrillers Neanderthal and The Darwin Conspiracy. A 30-year veteran of the New York Times, Darnton delivers a knowing, insider's portrait of the newspaper with great sympathy and humor, and successfully captures the intense human drama and daunting business imperatives in the world of newspapering. A sense of impending doom hovers over the enterprise, a sense that its greatness is slipping away.

"Black and White" is really a novel about the Times, thinly disguised as a murder mystery. What elevates it to the top of any beach-reading pile is its dead-on depiction of the idiosyncratic life of a big-time newsroom, way more chaotic and disorganized than outsiders can imagine.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The New York Globe is mired in the current economic doldrums of big city newspapers nationwide, a growing internet threatening its very existence, a hotbed of internal politics and petty competitions. Everyone is shocked by the brutal murder of a tyrannical editor, Theodore S Ratnoff. An acerbic, demanding taskmaster with few words of praise, Ratnoff is found with an editor's kill spike embedded in his chest. Jude Hurley is given the story- a make-it-or-break-it assignment, considering the pressures involved. Most likely, Ratnoff's murder is an inside job; the detective on the case, Priscilla Bollingsworth, has an equally enormous task ahead. There are far too many people on her growing list of suspects. Ratnoff has not been a popular editor. Even Jude is staggered by the number of potential villains, a list that includes virtually every link in the chain, from reporters to the most powerful members of the Board of Directors.

Over the course of the investigation, while Jude confers with Bollingsworth, each seeking relevant information from the other, Jude stumbles over a potpourri of scandalous events: a plagiarizing reporter with a formerly pristine reputation; an autocratic head of security who has no problem threatening anyone who challenges his methods; a gossip columnist hiding a romantic liaison who becomes a second victim; and an old-time reporter who appears to be the source of incriminating fingerprints and notes from the killer. Scrambling to pull together the pieces of an intriguing mystery that actually began with the founding of the Globe years earlier, Jude uncovers a number of troubling facts, not the least of which is that he is being followed, the threat increasing the closer he gets to the truth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"It was a lifeless body, and not just any body. It was Ratnoff."

When Ratnoff's secretary, Ellen Butterby, discovers his body in the New York Globe's newsroom, the newspaper's future is thrown into chaos. Senior editors grapple with the fact that one of their own has been brutally murdered in their hallowed workplace. An editor's spike, a symbol used to kill stories in old-time publishing days, has been driven into Ratnoff's chest. Affixed to the spike is a note, written in purple ink, Ratnoff's trademark color. It says, "Nice. Who?" --- Ratnoff's tell-tale query as to the authorship of a story.

Executive Editor Skeeter Diamond, publisher Elisha Hagenbuckle and Metro Editor Bernie Grabble confer and assign investigative reporter Jude Hurley to cover the story. Known as a loose cannon, Hurley is a digger who will find out what happened. A 35-year-old with a passion for his job, Hurley finds himself deep in scandal, hearsay and ambitious backstabbing at the Globe. He is a suspect and forced to work with a female detective assigned to the case. In addition, a second murder complicates the scene. Ratnoff's paramour, gossip columnist Peregrin Whibbleby, is discovered dead near the lobby stairs. A newspaper bundling machine has encased Whibbleby's body in the form of a statue holding a copy of the National Enquirer, resembling a wire mummy.

Hurley's rollercoaster investigation teams him with detective Priscilla Bollingsworth to solve the crimes. Newsmen become paranoid, publishers and editors seek answers without success, and Hurley second-guesses the loyalty of those he deemed friends. An intriguing subplot reveals ugly truths about the Globe's Greek founder, Hagenbuckle's father-in-law.
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