NIGHTWORK: a novel
The Mystery Writers Of America.
Taylor gave us postwar New York in “Night Life” (2015), and this time he returns to the city but not before a side trip to one of the only other settings able to compete with ’50s Manhattan for that smoky, jazz-filled, neon-lit noir mood: Havana in the last, desperate days before Castro closed down the party.
Michael Cassidy, the New York cop from the monied Upper East Side, has been tasked with returning a Cuban prisoner to Havana for trial. Then things get interesting: Cassidy spots his former lover, KGB agent Dylan McCue, in a Cuban prison and helps her escape. Slipping out of Cuba in the chaos following Castro’s takeover, Cassidy returns to New York and is assigned to the security detail for the new Cuban leader’s visit to the U.S. Meanwhile, he attempts to solve the murder of a handyman that may implicate some of his family’s tony friends.
Building to a slam-bang finale involving an assassination attempt, $100,000 in purloined Mob money, and cameos from Meyer Lansky and other marquee mobsters, the novel sails smoothly forward, nicely combining romance, historical detail, and, yes, that delightfully gin-soaked atmosphere.