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Manhattan Nocturne
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Manhattan Nocturne

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Porter Wren is a Manhattan tabloid writer with an appetite for scandal. On the beat he sells murder, tragedy, and anything that passes for the truth. At home, he is a dedicated husband and father. But when a seductive stranger asks him to dig into the unsolved murder of her husband, he is drawn into a very nasty case of sexual obsession and blackmail--one that threatens hi ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Picador (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 463)
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Glenn Russell
Here are 10 reasons to put Colin Harrison’s thriller on your reading list:

1. The Voice – A cross between Dashiell Hammett hardboiled and Upton Sinclair social commentary. Mr. Harrison has the literary virtuosity to pull it off. You’d have to go a long way to find a writer with a greater command of language. Here’s a quick sample from the first-person narrator and main character, newspaper reporter Porter Wren: “When the column was done my thoughts returned to the previous afternoon, and I suppos
...more
LJ
MANHATTAN NOCTURNE – NR
Colin Harrison
NYC tabloid columnist, Porter Wren attends a party and is sought out by beautiful Caroline Crowley, widow of film director Simon Crowley, because she has "a little problem." After phoning his wife and lying about why he'll be home late, Porter finds himself in Caroline's Fifth Avenue apartment and drawn ever deeper into the life of a dangerous woman and the dark heart of the city.
***I must admit being bored by this book. The writing was good but seemed very
...more
Eric_W
Porter Wren, a tabloid columnist, goes to a party to collect information for a column and is approached by Caroline Crowley, a striking woman in a peach colored dress. She invites him to her apartment where she shows him confidential police reports related to the death of her husband, Simon Crowley, whose body was discovered in a building being demolished. No one can figure out how the body got there as it was sealed off before and after demolition began. Crowley was a brilliant movie director w ...more
columbialion
Harrison's "Nocturne" is a masterful noir, hatched no doubt from a repressed mind of disturbed gruesome and macabre images. The choice of a NYC beat columnist crime reporter as protagonist, is a healthy change of pace from the usual drumbeat of colorful and effervescent squad rooms or private dicks. It's main premise of course is that the character's entry into such dark and dangerous circumstances wasn't predicated on his interfacing with the usually abundant criminal elements of back alley af ...more
Anthony
Great modern NYC noir. Harrison probably wrote one of my all time favorites, The Havana Room. This is cut from the same cloth; not quite as great but I still dug it.
Skip
I think Harrison is a terrific writer. Suspensful, but looks deep into his characters. In this novel, a newspaper columnist is seduced by a sex widow to investigate the death of her husband, a famous film director. In digging into his private film library, the columnist finds critical evidence and the owner of the newspaper seeks yet another film, which has private revelations. Gritty.
Tom
Complicated, exceptionally well-written mystery starring an investigative journalist / columnist, his wife and family and nanny; a beautiful woman; an obese billionaire; an ugly enfant terrible, and dead, filmmaker. There's just a teeny bit of soul missing in the writing and/or the characters. But, well worth the ride.
Becs
"Gripping" scarcely begins to describe it. This was my first book by this author and I fell headlong into it. The cast of characters was complete and perfect. What's a thriller/mystery without a good twist? This one's got at least two.
Nic Penrake
Possibly the best noir thriller I've ever read. It has everything you could want: atmosphere of a city, a man obsessed by a mysterious woman, unpredictable twists, keen observation and empathetic characters.
Tammy
This book is a great little mystery. A bit late 90s noir, it hooked me from the first page. A fun read-- nothing earth shattering, but it'll keep you guessing!
Meredith
I liked this a lot - well plotted, interesting characters...flawed but not seriously enough to be totally unsympathetic, well written. Overall, a very good read.
Donna Kass
An interesting story and well written, but a lot of words.
Cambra
read in two days at work; I have no shame.
Jonathan Briggs
I can't say I was much surprised when I read the author bio on the inside back cover of "Manhattan Nocturne" and learned that Colin Harrison is (or was) an editor at Harper's Magazine. That would explain the novel's artificial air of arty-fartiness and the cover blurbs from Thom Jones and David Foster Wallace (not exactly household names in the world of crime fiction). Noir is a subgenre born of desperation, despair and starvation. "Nocturne" feels more like slumming yuppie scum: "I have stood ...more
Judi
Porter Wren is a columnist for a New York city newspaper. He's been at this awhile and his stories never get cut. Wren knows how to listen to people and can intuit the heartbeat of any story. An then, there are people who just need to talk, especially to him.

Porter is the first to admit that maybe he should have gone straight home to Lisa and their two kids. If he had just skipped the after work party hosted by the immense Australian publishing magnate, then it all would not have happened. But h
...more
A
I actually really liked Harrison's writing style...hm...what else can I say that was positive about this book? Not much. The plot just wasn't there for me, and I know you weren't supposed to necessarily "like" the protagonist, but I still would have liked to not be completely appalled by him. It wasn't even the cheating thing (well, it wasn't entirely the cheating thing). It had a lot to do with how he went about his day to day life as well.
I was hoping for some redeeming quality in this man's t
...more
Jay Allan Storey
Some great writing here, and an interesting story, but for some reason I can't really put my finger on, I didn't find myself caring very much about what was happening to the protagonist or any of the other characters.

I think probably the book is over-thought. You feel like you're reading a story, rather than actually getting lost in the writing (to paraphrase Elmore Leonard, the author isn't 'invisible').

Great example of writing craft. It's incredible the depth of detail he works into it. I woul
...more
Tom
This is a new author and a departure, but his recent book got a decent writeup in "The Economist", in which this earlier novel was praised.

Well, it was more of a "potboiler" than I expected, and not the sort of thing I normally read, so difficult to rate. Quite atmospheric with regard to NYC, and has name-dropping/"roman a clef" elements, so fans of New York fiction should like it. I found it exciting, but prone to the predictable devices of the genre. Within recent reading, I strongly prefer J
...more
Chris Gager
A pretty entertaining mystery/murder with plenty of sex and a thinly disguised Rupert Murdoch in the middle of things("tongue like a barn animal"). A few glaring lapses in logic but that's probably typical in such a winding, complex narrative. If this had been movie-ized 20 or so years ago Sharon Stone would have made a great Caroline. I read this whole thing in one overnight marathon when I was home sick. The date read is very approximate.
Nina Phunsta
Wonderful!Thank you for the recommendation Andrez.
Marti
One might call this a book noir. There is a very dark feel to it. It is unfortunate that the hero, newspaperman Porter Wren, gets seduced by the beautiful widow, Caroline Cowley--that is when everything falls apart. The late Simon Cowley was a strange film maker whose private films ruin the lives of a number of people. How could a man get sucked in like that?
Ashley
This started off really good but just fell away at the end where it seems basically the main character (and hence the author) just couldn't be arsed. It was kinda weird to read a book where beepers and VHS are the cutting edge of technology (albeit it was set and written in the mid 1990s).
Rosy
After reading a few intense novels in a row, I was looking for some fiction that was immensely readable and didn't require too much emotion or attention. This book fit that need perfectly. It was entertaining and the prose had its moments.
Kat C
This one was relatively easy to figure out, which, by itself isn't a kiss of death. But the author had an unfortunate tendency to describe his characters' personalities via their breasts and laugh lines. Eh.
Daniel
The book was very wordy and the author took awhile to get to the point. The "hero"was someone you couldn't feel sorry for or root for in anyway. When something bad happened to him you were happy
Barb
Started it and it never caught my interest. It's now been over a year and I have finished and it's time I'll never get back.
Kay
I forgot to review this after reading and I already forgot what it was about. It was okay, lots of twists and turns.
Teresa
Drags on and on. There is no climax. There isn't even any escalation. It's just one, very long, bland straight line.
Dora Okeyo
This book tells of how much you can destroy yourself without knowing how and why you are doing it.
bette
Not exactly my cup of tea. Could not feel any empathy with the main character.
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Colin Harrison is a crime novelist. He is a vice president and senior editor at Scribner.
He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with his wife, the writer Kathryn Harrison, and their three children (Sarah, Walker and Julia).

He attended: Haverford College, BA 1982; University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. MFA 1986

His short nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Washington Po
...more
More about Colin Harrison...
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