HIP, COOL, & DANGEROUS: GORDON GREISMAN'S THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER
One of the subgenres I'm a sucker for is the historical private eye novel. Whether it be Max Allan Collin's Nate Heller dealing with everyone from Capone to THe Kennedy's, Steven Saylor's Gordius The Finder working the mean streets of Ancient Rome, and other P.I.'s In the past who have a way of engaging with their times that bring them to life. Gordon Greisman introduces the latest with Jack Coffey.
Coffey's stomping ground is fifties New York. He lives a hip life hanging out in Greenwich jazz clubs where friends like Thelonious Monk play and is in a relationship with V, a high end model. Picture a more street hardened Peter Gunn.
Louis Garnett, a power player in the city hires him to finds Lucy, his daughter who frequents many of the same clubs as himself. Jack hears she is in the clutches of a pimp connected to mobster Vincent "The Chin' Gigante. Coffey becomes dedicated to save her. His quest takes him through a labyrinth that grows darker and darker where politicians, business men, church higher ups, and mob leaders are all connected. He's close to a dark truth that puts a team of hitters on him. Even Lucy may prove not to be what she seems.
Greisman creates a vivid postwar New York . The clubs sparkle and the mobsters are monsters with little of the usual gloss. The book personalizes the city through Coffey, a man who navigates this concrete jungle where there is little sure footing. We even feel his unease with V's uptown trappings.
Gordon Greisman creates a privates detective adventure both slick and gritty with The Devil's Daughter. Jack Coffey is both cool and human and so is his New York. I hope he gets another case.