From Publishers Weekly
"Finding an Apartment in New York can be Murder" might have been the tagline of this entertaining, engagingly sloppy comic thriller. The plot centers around Cyrus, a trust fund dilettante turned serial killer who lures desperate New York apartment hunters into his clutches by advertising sublets in the Village Voice. Niles cuts quickly back and forth from an account of Cyrus's descent into madness to the tales of a clutch of prospective "tenants": Quinn, a handsome, perpetually blocked "Black Irish" writer; Tye Fisher, a gorgeous, charmingly criminal woman who has a more mercenary fake sublet scheme of her own; and Gus and Susie Neidermeyer, a young Midwestern couple whose fresh-out-of-college innocence dooms them to an early slaughter. With an investigative role played by Catrina Vermont, an aging TV reporter on the graveyard shift who is assigned to the story, the novel hurtles through New York's high and low society toward a clever if credulity-straining ending. Despite his murderous habits, Cyrus is the least interesting character, a rather perfunctory American Psycho retread. Niles's social satire lacks the stylish bite of that definitive yuppie-serial-killer novel, but also, thankfully, its pretentiousness. Niles writes in a jaunty, colloquial style that moves the action along nicely, but sometimes degenerates into a long string of clichs. She is at her best with dry, often hilariously over-the-top observations of New York life in general and the rituals of the apartment search in particular; at one point, a well-dressed young woman marches into a grotesque crime scene, stepping over bodies and ignoring the gore-spattered walls as she pulls out her checkbook to inquire, "Three months' deposit okay?" Scenes like this make the novel a fun, breezily grisly read.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
If tongue planted firmly in cheek is your dish, check out this slice of dark comedy by the author of the Sam Ridley mystery series (Spike It). When, in apartment-starved New York City, an ad appears for a "1 BR X-huge studio at a reasonable price," the con artists, wackos, and serial killers start circling. These include a young newlywed couple from Michigan, a blocked "writer" whose latest assignment is the aphorisms found in fortune cookies, a TV news "face" whose ratings have been sagging lately, and a transplanted Brit. The serial killer is a cross between Jeffrey Dahmer and Pepe Le Pew who, while stumbling after his guru down the path to enlightenment, finds time to strew frozen body parts in the freezer sections of local supermarkets. This is one of the few current thrillers that does not include recipes, and it all goes down as painlessly as takeout Chinese. For larger public libraries, where such tangy fare should find a ready audience. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.