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Tabloid City: A Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2011

56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hamill (North River) forays into Dominic Dunne society crime territory before veering uncomfortably into a far-fetched terrorist plot. Just as the last ever edition of the New York World is getting put to bed, veteran editor Sam Briscoe stops the presses for a sensational murder: socialite Cynthia Harding and her personal secretary are found stabbed to death in Harding's Manhattan town house. The story unfolds in time-stamped, you-are-there bursts that follow a large cast, including several journalists; Cynthia's adopted daughter; a disgraced Madoff-like financier; a media blogger; the murdered secretary's husband, a police officer assigned to a counterterrorism task force, as well as their son, a convert to radical Islam; and best of all by the weary and worldly Briscoe himself. Hamill is at his best in the Briscoe portions, rich in print anecdotes and mournful for a passing age, but as both the initial murders and the closing of the paper play into a larger plot and the young extremist becomes the driving force of the novel, the quality slides precipitously, and, as if sensing defeat, the book is brought to a too abrupt conclusion with most of the principals gathered for a group of scenes that strain credulity. Hamill nails the dying newsroom, but gets lost on the terrorism beat. (May)
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"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)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (May 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316020753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316020756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor, and screenwriter. He is the author of 15 previous books including the bestselling novels Snow in August and Forever and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life. He writes a column for the New York Daily News and lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By mj deneen on May 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My first encounter with the hero Sam Briscoe was in the 70's with Flesh & Blood. I have missed out on his other adventures, but recently read Tabloid City. Hamill loves NYC, loves the newspaper business and has an eye for creating interesting portraits. Sadly he forgot how to construct a reason for all of this to exist- I spent the last pages wishing for a reason to want to read more- it never happened. Still this work merits a read if you have a hankering for the days of the New York World or Herald Tribune. Not sure if this a a farewell or the work that was promised on an existing contract .
Save for a train or plane trip & you will not be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Real Deal on July 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To say this, but I really struggled with this book. Blasphemy, I know right. But it's true. I found it wordy, too much like a trip down memory lane for Pete, the characters incredibly hard to follow, and not very exciting. I saw one of the reviews comparing it to a modern day Bonfire....Vanities. Oh c'mon, please, not even close.
I wanted to like it, really I did. I'm searching for good Summer reads, this was not one of them unfortunately.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hillman on May 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book, truly one that captures our dark and scary times while still lighting a candle to show a possible way out. "Tabloid City" also, it seems to me, heralds the on-going evolution of this most-gifted author, long one of the most versatile and gifted chroniclers and thinkers we have.

It is present day. New York is no longer "My Downtown." Yes, on surface this is a depressing epic, but such are the changed times in which we find ourselves. As Hamill demonstrates, blind faith in technology, a seemingly endless and crippling recession and, most of all, September 11, have changed our world irrevocably.

The old faiths, favorites, tribes, rituals and retreats are gone for good. It seems that in their place there is nothing but mayhem, fear and uncertainty.

Hamill's characters find it pointless to try to sugar-coat the painful realities of today, or wall-paper them over with wistful remembrances of "glory" days and past champions. For too many (and not just the poor and afflicted), life now in the big city boils down to a constant struggle for mere survival, sometimes hour-to-hour. One day here encapsulates odysseys of lifetimes.

And yet--not all is lost.

Even people desperate themselves can, and still do, achieve miracles, minor and major. These are not the breath-taking, lyrical miracles of "Snow In August," or "Forever." Progress--digging ourselves out of the impersonal messes we've made--is likely to be incremental. And so it is fitting that the prose style here is unlike that of his other classics. What Hamill does now is staccato yet still intimate; taut yet still enlightening.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. BULL on May 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pete Hamill is a man in love. In love with the city of New York and the dying art of newspaper journalism. He know both with all their flaws and writes about both with lyrical prose, verging on poetry. I slowed down in reading this to savor the words and stay with the characters as long as I could.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gaby at Starting Fresh blog VINE VOICE on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Galwayk on May 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I did not slow down to savor the words like some other readers, I stopped completely after 100 pages and almost as many unconnected characters. I'm sure they all connected somehow by the end but could I give a good crap? Nope.
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