Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pg. 99: John Darnton's "Black and White and Dead All Over"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: John Darnton's Black and White and Dead All Over.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bad news is brewing in the inner sanctum of the New York Globe, the city’s long-standing newspaper of note, whose back is to the wall. Readership, advertising, and circulation are plummeting—along with the paper’s vaunted standards—and the cost cutters have their knives out. But trouble of a wholly different kind begins one rainy September morning when a powerful editor is found murdered in the newsroom, with the spike that he’d wielded to kill stories hammered into his chest. The problem for Priscilla Bollingsworth, the young, ambitious female NYPD detective assigned to the case—besides the fact that the mayor is breathing down her neck—is that there are too many suspects to choose from.

She teams up with Jude Hurley, a clever, rebellious reporter, and together they navigate the ink-infested waters whose denizens include the paper’s resentful old guard, scheming careerists, a bumbling publisher, a steely executive editor, and a rival newspaper tycoon named Lester Moloch. But the waters thicken considerably when more bodies turn up, dead all over.

Armed with the firsthand knowledge he has acquired through forty years in journalism, John Darnton conjures up the cynicism and romanticism of the profession and gives us a cunning, pitch-perfect portrait of the declining—if not yet murderous—newspaper industry. Black and White and Dead All Over is a satirical mystery that entertains from first to last.
Among the early acclaim for the novel:
"Who killed the editor? A venerable New York newspaper becomes a crime scene in this multifaceted, gloriously entertaining thriller... Tingling suspense powered by Darnton's love for his battered profession."
Kirkus, starred review

"A rollicking newsroom farce."
–Keir Graff, Booklist

William Randolph Hearst meets Agatha Christie... Loaded with subtle social commentary and wry humor, this highly intelligent whodunit will keep readers guessing."
Publishers Weekly

"What a great ride. Think of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop and Ben Hecht's Front Page and add a murder thriller that gives insight into the workings of a great newspaper. It should be required reading for anyone who cares about news and what's happening to it."
–Nick Pileggi

"This may be the most entertaining novel about newspapers since Michael Frayn's The Tin Men."
–Joseph Lelyveld

"A mystery with as many heart-thumping twists and turns as a roller coaster."
–Ken Auletta
Read an excerpt from the novel, and learn more about the author and his work at John Darnton's website and his blog.

John Darnton has worked for forty years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He was awarded two George Polk Awards for his coverage of Africa and Eastern Europe, and the Pulitzer Prize for his stories that were smuggled out of Poland during the period of martial law. He is a best-selling author whose previous novels include Neanderthal and The Darwin Conspiracy.

The Page 99 Test: Black and White and Dead All Over.

--Marshal Zeringue