Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Black and White and Dead All Over & r & by John Darnton & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & top the presses! A murder mystery set in the newsroom of the barely disguised New York Times, written by a former Times reporter? That was enough to hook me. And John Darnton underscores it all with just the right ennui about the fate of newspapers, caught as they are somewhere between the proverbial ink-stained wretch and the blogger in her pajamas. The characters who wax nostalgic about the glory days, when telling the story was more important than selling the story, seem to speak for Darnton, who spent 40 years with the Times before becoming a novelist.





It all gets off to a wild start, as hard-ass editor Theodore Ratnoff is found murdered on the floor of the newsroom, with an old editor's spike (used back in the day to kill stories) driven into his chest. Hotshot young reporter Jude Hurley catches the story, while Priscilla Bollingsworth, an uptown-gal-turned-cop works the case for the NYPD. The newsroom is overflowing with suspects, each colorfully drawn by Darnton.





Darnton's insider status makes for some potent skewering of the newspaper industry, but his characters are all such perfect clich & eacute;s he had to have intended them that way. There's the hard-bitten old Irish guy who shares his wisdom at the bar just after deadline. Then there's the self-involved restaurant critic with her own TV show. The hopelessly inbred and incapable publisher? Check. The prize-winning reporter whose stories don't quite add up? Check. Darnton even throws in a Rupert Murdoch stand-in, Lester Moloch, to ratchet up the realism. But it's too much; it all adds up to being way, way over the top of believability -- but maybe that's the idea here, to turn the whole story up to 11, with lots of knowing winks.





There are so many fingers of blame to follow, Hurley and Bollingsworth merely uncover some completely unrelated unpleasantness -- but it's enough to upset, then right the listing New York Globe. But like a buried lead, the killer does finally emerge; still, if I was Darnton's editor, I'd have asked for a rewrite on his ending.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Rich Man, Poor Men
  • Rich Man, Poor Men

    Can the wealthiest U.S. president ever help the poorest U.S. citizens?
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • La Resistance
  • La Resistance

    Michael Moore, Congressional Democrats and local progressives: How they are resisting Donald Trump's agenda
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Must-See TV?
  • Must-See TV?

    Alternatives to the inauguration (and how to make watching more fun if you have to)
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Beginning Knitting

Beginning Knitting @ Cheney Library

Sat., Jan. 28, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


Briefs


marijuana


green zone


Politics


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation