March 14, 2014 by Reader's Connection
There’s a moment in the movie Argo when the film producer (played by Alan Arkin) says that his family life is a wreck because the movie business is like coal mining, you can’t shake the dirt off of you when you go home.
Porter Wren, who narrates Colin Harrison’s 1996 deep-noir novel Manhattan Nocturne, may have a similar problem. He earns a living by writing a gritty column for a tabloid newspaper in New York, and his profession seems to be soaking into him, affecting his behavior, to the extent that his family is physically threatened.
Porter begins to behave badly early in the tale, and you might not like him or his new woman friend, Caroline. Even so, you might be drawn into their dark world–there’s a murder mystery and a blackmail mystery, and there’s the mystery of why Caroline behaves the way she does. (Sexy & scary.) And even if Porter ticks you off, you might like the way he digs down into Manhattan, sometimes literally.
I’m planning a group of posts that celebrate the Year of the Horse, and I’m including this post, because there’s a dark horse story at the center of Manhattan Nocturne, and it has stayed with me for almost twenty years.
I’ll promote more upbeat horse literature in the months to come.