Tabloid City: A Novel

by Pete Hamill

Hardcover, 2011



When a wealthy socialite and her secretary are found murdered in a stately West Village townhouse, a flurry of seemingly unrelated people spring into action.

User reviews

LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
If you can't just pick up and go to New York whenever you crave a fix of Apple juice, Pete Hamill has what you need. He owns the city, but he's real generous about sharing. In Tabloid City, he weaves in and out among an amazing set of characters, moving each of them through the same 21 hours as they meet or forge their own destinies in a world that seems to be changing in all the wrong ways. Everyone in this novel has lost something significant, and yet their stories are rich and full of life. Although I had no idea this would be true when I picked it up to read on September 10, 2011, it was particularly appropriate for this anniversary weekend, as a central character is a young American radicalized Muslim obsessed with the need to purge wickedness with violence. As he prepares for what he sees as his final act of glory, he chants the names of the September 11th hijackers, in anticipation of meeting them in Paradise. Part suspense thriller, part requiem for the vanishing world of "words on paper", part affirmation of the resilience of the human spirit. Gripping, moving, very hard to put down.… (more)
LibraryThing member SalemAthenaeum
A young, famous socialite and her secretary have been murdered, causing a whirlwind of activity for the following twenty-four hours. As the murders are approached from different perspectives, individuals connected, even loosely, to the women murdered, react in unexpected and and sometimes dangerous ways.
LibraryThing member EdGoldberg
Tabloid City is a sad book with multliple storylines. On the day that Sam Briscoe, long-time editor of the World newspaper finds out that the print edition will be discontinued and the newspaper will only appear online, he also learns of the brutal murder of his girlfirend Cynthia Harding and her assistant in Cynthia's home. At the same time, young Malik is trying to find money so his 'ready-to-give-birth' girlfriend can go to a hospital. He has kept her locked in an abandoned building. Josh Thompson, a disabled Iraq war veteran stuck in a wheel chair, has a Mac-10 that he plans on using to get revenge.

The fact that these diverse stories can come together into a believable, engrossing tale is no small feat. Pete Hamill does a fantastic job of both having old time newspaper people, Sam and Helen Loomis, reminisce about the journalism heydays gone by and exploring the future of news. He tells readers about the world as it really is, full of new technology and old terrorism, of the results of war and the efforts of the few to make life better for everyone.

Tabloid City is filled with great characters (ones you both love and hate) and engrossing storylines. It is a sad book evoking little, but some, hope for the future. YOu will revel in the references to a 'better time' and feel heartbroken at some of the events that take place. Needless to say, you will not walk away from Tabloid City without it having called up some emotion. A highly recommended read.
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LibraryThing member BookishDame
My Humble Review:
The very distinguished Mr. Pete Hamill has written a brilliant novel that is destined for the highest accolades and awards in literary circles, in my humble opinion. With a genius and brilliance that startles in virtually every paragraph and page, Mr. Hamill stands as an author destined to make history in our classical American literature. Of course, he has already done that...

Not only will you find the living pulse of New Yorkers in "Tabloid City," but you will experience the extraordinary: the viseral, psychological, emotional and internal language of his protagonists. I was literally knocked back in my seat with Hamill's knowledge of a woman's inner dialog in her intimate life. And, his ability to reach inside the mind of a radical religious follower is particularly rare to the degree it's conveyed in his novel.

Hamill's method incorporated of tabloid-style vignettes to relay his characters' lives echos the 21st century's mindset, culture, and reliance upon flash news, grit/trash and instant gratification we've so become familiar. This commentary on our world today, where real news and newpapers have become virtually obsolete; however, is not to say he compromises his own genius creative skills.

As a student of fine arts and art history myself, Pete Hamill shed a light on my ignorance of contemporary, notable artists and methods. I had to research! I was simply chagrined to realize this important part of my life had been left stagnant in these recent years. My hand had stopped reaching for "ArtNews" since I left Boston for FL nearly 8 yrs ago. "Tabloid City" touched me "at home" and it gave me some much needed enlightenment.

In "Tabloid City" you will find a great love story, a murder and suspense, humor, power punches of knowledge, wit, the urbane and vanity of NYC, quotes from the rich and famous, death and dying,love and competition. Literature is discussed in thrilling, suscinct terms that shed a light of wisdom often not considered. We hear of Murder Inc., the brassy mofia of Brooklyn, radical Muslim thoughts and lifestyle, and others of the peoples and cultures of the City. I loved reading about the old-time reporter going after the murder story.

Pete Hamill is an author you must read simply for your own literary education. Not to have read him will sadly leave you ignorant of an important generation which he's witnessed/ing and continues to report.

For your personal collection and library, go immediately and get a first edition of this novel. This is a book that will be known as important and will be receiving awards.

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LibraryThing member libsue
I love Pete Hamill and I love New York City. Nobody else writes the struggles that New York and Newspapers are facing in quite the same way. Tabloid City is about a death-the death of two women, the death (and rebirth?) of newspapers as we have come to know them, and the city that is home to all. But more importantly the story is about how a large, impersonal city such as New York can find the intersecting stories of people from different strata, and how one person’s actions can affect so many.
I loved this book, and couldn't put it down.
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LibraryThing member laurscartelli
In his new novel, Tabloid City, author Pete Hamill explores the interconnectivity of the big city on a molecular level, switching from one point of view to the next, combining the details into a veritable detective’s pad of suspects, dates, times, witnesses and motives.

Almost ten years after the tragedy of 9/11 Hamill dictates an unsolicited terrorist plot against a tiny spot on the map called Manhattan, not far from ground zero, all in the background of a technology war (not dissimilar in mode from distribution changes happening just this past month at the New York Times).

In case the setting didn’t make Hamill’s place of residence obvious, the proof is in the details. Take, for example, the doo-wop group that Sam Briscoe (the closest thing we have to a protagonist in all of this) encounters on the 6 train – they’re as real as the train. Or take Briscoe’s reflection on the MegaMillions ad.

These things are not the watchful eyes of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s T.J. Eckleberg—they are and were there.

It is these very real markers on Hamill’s road map that make the story so relatable and so real. As the cover suggests, we could have passed any one of these characters on the street and been none the wiser. And while the format is at first a little jarring and somewhat distancing, it is also disarming, denying the reader a need to necessarily side with one character or the other, one motive or another. The reader is, instead, enlisted as a silent member of the jury in a case settled out of court.

The end result is a full story, without flourish, without prejudice, a 3-D picture—no hearsay or lies on the stand necessary. That reality leaves little to fabrication or imagination and once the tale is told, you couldn’t really ask for more.
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LibraryThing member memphisrain
Enjoyable, interesting story that includes many diverse characters that are linked — however indirectly by some — to the staff members of the last afternoon daily newspaper in New York City and the people they cover. Some of the subplots are not tied up in a bow, but then, neither is life. Hamill knows newspapers and he knows, New York, so enjoy.… (more)
LibraryThing member justinefrances
Brisk with a New York attitude, this mystery follows two nights and a day in and about NYC. Unfortunately, not being a native New Yorker myself, I was tempted to pull out a map to orient myself. The multiple locations combined with a long list of briefly sketched characters made me feel like I needed a journalism degree just to follow it. Putting the writer's style aside, however, the plot was interesting enough to be worth the effort and it allowed the writer to bear his grievances with the disappearance of the written word, immigration, financial scams, and post-9/11 New York.… (more)
LibraryThing member yourotherleft
Tabloid City is a day in New York City, and what a day it is. It starts just after midnight with Sam Briscoe, editor of the last slowly dying afternoon tabloid in New York City, contemplating the next day's headlines. He's a newspaperman from way back who longs for the days when the papers weren't being encroached upon by an army of websites. He pines for the days of smoky newsrooms filled with activity, for headlines that people were eager to read instead of the same old bad news. But Sam is just one of many characters that populate the pages of Tabloid City. Its pages are filled with characters ranging from a wealthy socialite and philanthropist to a Muslim extremist to a war veteran bent on revenge to a police officer whose own son has gone wrong all of whose paths will cross in the shadow of murder all in Hamill's one day in New York City.

Tabloid City is not told in chapters but in minutes. The story is not written in first person style, nonetheless every few pages, marked by the new time, the perspective changes to a different character, covering dozens of characters. This style is perfect for the story Hamill is trying to tell. It, plus its present tense storytelling, conveys the urgency, the quickness with which momentous changes occur in a city that pulses with life at all hours. It captures a cross-section of the city's denizens and their complicated, often distant, relationships. Hamill is a champion at bringing his city to life. Many of the things that make New York unique find their way into the pages, and the gritty daily grind of the city that never sleeps is palpable through the eyes of longtime residents who have grown weary of their anonymous struggle against its changing face. Hamill paints a picture of New York struggling in recession and of people who are relentlessly nostalgic for lives that they used to live in a New York that was, if not simpler, than at least more real.

Tabloid City is about New York, a city where changes are always only minutes away, but a city that longs for its own past. It's also about humanity. The characters here are anything but lovable. They are angry, they are mysterious, they are hurting, needing, lost, vengeful, but, above all, real. Each is hurtling along toward their destiny in an unforgiving place, a place they can't help but love. Tabloid City does have somewhat of a thrilling end, but the journey is the better part.
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LibraryThing member sproe
I really liked the way Hamill weaved several stories together so that they all related to each other, but each was a compelling story in itself. Strong characters and the right mixture of emotion and practical reality. I can recommend Tabloid City to anyone looking for a good read.
LibraryThing member Carolee888
Pete Hamill's Tabloid City is like book turned into a poetic mural about New York City. I loved the way that he weaved together so many different stories into such a great treasure.

He starts off with the city room of the New York World and the Editor in Chief, 71 year old Editor in chief, Sam Briscoe looking for the "wood" (the big story of the issue). I loved the references to the newsrooms of the past and the feeling of nostalgia. There was sort of a gritty romance with the city. With the Internet news, you don't get to know the people writing the stories.
Helen Loomis like Sam, is another reluctant bridge to the past, aching for a smoke and using her column, nicknamed "Vics and Dicks" to give people a few laughs for the day about dumb criminals.

There are many more characters, a victim of serving in Iraq, now in a wheelchair, a black converted to a terrorist group and his father heartsick and working against it. A sad but real love story between Sam Briscoe and very intelligent and generous woman and so many unforgetable stories make up this complex painting.

I really loved this book, everything fit together the gritty and the beautiful, the sad and regretful, and it was all pure poetry to me.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a feeling for the complex city of New York and also enjoy great and I mean great writing.

Come on, read it, if you don’t like it, you can blame me!
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LibraryThing member VashonJim
A delightful little book, particularly for those who have been on the inside of the news business -- and especially for those who witnessed the death of a newspaper from the inside. Hamill gets newspapers right, and his New York City reeks of authenticity.
LibraryThing member shazjhb
Pretty good.
LibraryThing member msf59
“The only way to fight nostalgia is to listen to somebody else's nostalgia”

Late one night, in lower Manhattan, a wealthy socialite and her assistant, are brutally murdered. Over the next twenty-four hours, we follow a cast of characters, as their lives have been touched, by this heinous crime. Leading the pack is, Sam Briscoe, an aging editor of a failing New York newspaper and former lover of the woman murdered. We get a snapshot of the newsroom in decline, as it deals with another “Tabloid” headline.
Hamill weaves the rest of the characters, into an urban tapestry, showing a city in the midst of change, with gritty, masterful flair.

This was my first book by this author and I look forward to reading more of his work.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Most of the action in this novel takes place over the course of a single day in New York City. Readers are introduced to a seemingly random cast of characters. Some of the characters work in various capacities for a newspaper trying to maintain its reputation for quality journalism in an era of declining readership. A tragic murder propels the characters toward convergence in its aftermath.

Hamill's background in journalism gives the newsroom scenes and journalist characters authenticity. I could see the newsroom and its inhabitants. The novel has a strong sense of place. It's impossible to imagine it set anyplace other than New York. The audio production uses a male reader for scenes written from the perspective of a male character and a female reader for the scenes written from the perspective of a woman. This was an effective choice. Both readers managed to give each character a distinct and suitable voice.
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LibraryThing member goodinthestacks
This book is a love letter to New York City and the printed word. Mr. Hamill laments the changing world for newspapers and wishes libraries a great future that is clearly uncertain. He also mourns the loss of his New York, understandably so. The recession, changing technology, and time are all the culprits for this loss. There's also the loss of innocence as a terrorist plot is intertwined amongst all these different stories, culminating in a chance encounter of it all in the end.… (more)


Little, Brown and Company (2011), Edition: Lrg, 416 pages


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

416 p.; 6.25 inches


031617808X / 9780316178082
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