It’s been said that all fiction is at least in some part autobiographical, something that has kept many writers, yours truly included, from trying novels or even short stories. But it didn’t stop former FBI director and US Attorney (among other things) James Comey from giving it a go in Central Park West.
Comey knows a lot about crime in New York so it’s no surprise that his maiden novel is set in New York City. The story starts with Nora Carleton, Assistant US Attorney at trial of a mobster named Dominic “The Nose” D’Amico. Her investigative partner is a hulk of an FBI agent called Benny Dugan.
The story quickly jumps to a very tony New York apartment where we find Kyra Burke talking to her lawyer about her trial for murder of her ex-husband, the recently termed-out governor of New York. She is claiming innocence, but the state has a strong case, and it doesn’t look good for Ms. Burke.
The cases become intertwined in an unusual way and the book takes off from there, adding one complication after another to make a real page-turner out of a couple of rather simple stories. The Nose wants to help with the Burke case in exchange for leniency, finds himself dead, and then the plot as they say thickens – and it’s a really good read . . .
. . . until Comey runs out of the steam that kept the book going so well. About the last quarter of the book is about as flat and uninteresting as a two-day-old pancake without maple syrup. The character who is the real culprit of the story could have been far more interesting, and Comey could have left out the minor family dramas involving other characters.
But it’s a good enough read that I’d recommend it and no, I won’t tell you who the real culprit is.
Oh, by the way, as you know the FBI doesn’t do sex, so there’ no hanky-panky. But if you’re offended by foul language, brace yourself – Central Park West is loaded with F-bombs!