Five feet two inches of slick repartee, near-purple hair, and poetic imagination, twenty-year-old Rune hasn't been in Manhattan for very long. But she's crafty enough to have found a squatter's paradise in an empty TriBeCa loft, and a video store job that feeds her passion for old movies. It's a passion she shares with her favorite customer, Mr. Kelly, a lonely old man who rents the same video over and over. The flick is a noir classic based on a real-life unsolved bank heist and a million missing dollars. It's called Manhattan Is My Beat.
That's the tape Rune is picking up from Mr. Kelly's shabby apartment when she finds him shot to death. The police suspect a robbery gone wrong, but Rune is certain the key to solving the murder is hidden somewhere in the hazy, black-and-white frames of Mr. Kelly's beloved movie. But as Rune hits the mean streets of New York to find answers, she gets caught up in a dangerous adventure more chilling than anything Hollywood could dream up. As her story draws to its terrifying conclusion, Rune's final close-up may include the killer of a co-star.
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Jeffrey Deaver knows how to hook readers and keep them guessing with suspenseful, twisty plots. This early Deaver effort, originally published in 1988, will not disappoint fans dazzled by his subsequent, high-profile Lincoln Rhyme series (The Bone Collector, The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair.)
Manhattan Is My Beat takes its name from the (invented) 1947 film noir watched obsessively by murder victim Robert Kelly. Our heroine, Rune, (a punk with a heart of gold) works for Washington Square Video. On a routine pickup to retrieve Manhattan Is My Beat, she discovers Kelly just shot dead, the target of a professional hit. Rune and a woman jogger glimpse the presumed killer as he speeds off in a green car. While cops drag their heels in solving the mystery, Rune takes matters into her own hands, convinced that the motive for the murder is a missing suitcase stuffed with one million dollars--the subject, not coincidentally, of the film that Kelly and Rune both admired. An avid fan of fantasy novels and prone to see life through the prism of magic and quests, Rune takes up the challenge of finding the lost money and catching Kelly's killers. But the formidable hit team is intent upon destroying both possible witnesses to the murder, and their nimble crosses and double-crosses--some of which the reader sees, some of which are revealed at the end--make for fun reading.
Plotting moves briskly in this novel, except for a slowdown in the story--Rune's ambiguous romance with downtown poseur Richard has little to do with catching killers. The conclusion, while neatly wrapped, is marred by the sudden appearance of a crucial detail that Deaver produces like a fancy dish under the waiter's silver dome. But the gimmick to offset the conclusion's predictability feels like a cheat rather than a revelation. All in all, however, the novel is excellent mind candy, a thrilling romp lead by an agile, street-smart heroine. --Kathi Inman BerensFrom the Back Cover:
"Highly original and very entertaining."
--Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
"Deaver writes with clarity, compassion, and intelligence, and with a decidedly human and contemporary slant."
"Deaver is a master of ticking-bomb suspense!"
Don't miss Jeffery Deaver's other gripping novels featuring his unforgettable heroine Rune:
"[Rune] is a breath of fresh air!"
Death of a Blue Movie Star
"Truly an original."
--The Drood Review of Mystery
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