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Review: Tabloid City

April 24, 2012

Tabloid City, by Pete Hamill is rather hard to describe, but basically, it’s a 24 hour period set in New York City.  Divided by time, rather than chapters, the book opens with Sam Briscoe, the editor of the last surviving afternoon newspaper, working on his headlines at midnight.

Things pick up when a wealthy woman, Cynthia Harding, and her secretary, Mary Lou Watson, are found murdered.  Since the murder is at a “good address,” there seems to be a threat of more violence to come.  The police are investigating the murders and a young reporter is on the case.

Of course, that’s not all that’s going on in New York that day – a financial manager is trying to leave the country rather than face disgrace, a veteran is angry, and a terrorist has plans of his own.

When I started listening to Tabloid City, I was kind of confused.  The plot seemed to jump around and I couldn’t figure out how the characters and the plot threads were tied together.  I decided to sit back and not worry about it and let the story take me where it would and things eventually came together in a thrilling finish!  It took a while, but about two-thirds of the way through, I put things together and had to know the outcome.

For me, this was a good, but not great read.  The ending was exciting, but the journey to get there was slow and confusing at times.  The audio was read by Peter Ganim and Ellen Archer and they both do a great job – I think their narration is what kept me invested in the book.  The audio version is on 8 CDs and last approximately 10 hours.

Here’s Pete Hamill explaining the concept of the book:

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

44 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2012 4:12 am

    Any book with New York gets my intention, so this one too. But your review makes me uncertain if I really want to read it, although it does sound interesting. Hm, I am having mixed feelings. I’ll have to think about this before I decide what to do. Thanks for your review, Kathy.

  2. April 24, 2012 4:13 am

    I mean attention, not intention… Sorry about that

  3. Amritorupa Kanjilal permalink
    April 24, 2012 4:13 am

    I was just compiling a list of books that take place within 24 hours, such as Ulysses and Saturday (Ian McKewan)… This is a new one to add to it. Thanks!

  4. April 24, 2012 5:59 am

    When this was first released, I started listening to the audio, but it seemed too confusing for an audio book and didn’t hold my interest so I stopped after the first disc.

    Sorry this wasn’t a bit better for you.

  5. April 24, 2012 6:11 am

    I love the concept of this book, but it’s too bad that the book as a whole didn’t seem to quite come together.

  6. sandynawrot permalink
    April 24, 2012 7:34 am

    Complicated plots can really test you on audio. Sometimes it is just too much work! Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge but you have to be fortified to get through it.

  7. melaniesmusingsnet permalink
    April 24, 2012 9:36 am

    I usually enjoy books within set time periods, but this one does sound confusing. Definitely one to be read in print, at least.

  8. April 24, 2012 9:48 am

    I have a hard time with books that jump right into the action, and that leave me confused and wondering, but your overall impression of this one make me think that I would possibly listen to this one on audio. Your review was wonderful because now I will know what to expect going in!

  9. April 24, 2012 10:26 am

    If you were confused I probably would be too!

  10. April 24, 2012 10:35 am

    Being in the newspaper biz makes me very interested in this one, though the threads of multiple storylines often confuse me, too.

  11. bookingmama permalink
    April 24, 2012 11:23 am

    I have this one on audio too. I wonder if reading it would help with the confusion.

  12. talesofwhimsy permalink
    April 24, 2012 11:56 am

    Sounds like a pass.
    Sounds like something that would make a good movie though.
    For some reason my mind goes to the TV show 24.

  13. April 24, 2012 11:57 am

    I love the audiobooks, but sometimes these tricky plots aren’t a good match for the format. Glad it came together for a satisfying ending though.

  14. April 24, 2012 12:25 pm

    Inorder for me to like a book like this I would need to dedicate a good chunk of my time to reading it in one day. I get really frustrated when the plot jumps around and I’m not sure what’s going on.

  15. April 24, 2012 1:00 pm

    Sounds like an interesting premise, but it’s pretty outside of my normal choices. Not a bad thing at all, but it’d be a while before I’d pick it up. 🙂

  16. April 24, 2012 1:06 pm

    I just do not know if I could wait for that thrilling end to come

  17. April 24, 2012 1:59 pm

    Terrific review, and the trailer, which explains a few things about what the author’s trying to do, is also interesting. I can understand why this type of book could be a bit confusing. I’d need to read (or listen) slowly to this one.

  18. April 24, 2012 3:14 pm

    This sounds more like a book to read than listen to…at least to me.

  19. cherylmash permalink
    April 24, 2012 3:38 pm

    I have this in my review tbr pile, but after reading your review, don’t think I will be rushing to pick it up. Thanks for the honest review.

  20. April 24, 2012 3:51 pm

    It sounds interesting, I’ve added it to my TBR list.

  21. April 24, 2012 4:43 pm

    I love the concept of this book so I am sorry to hear it didn’t quite work.

  22. April 24, 2012 5:43 pm

    Hmm…the jumping around probably would drive me crazy.

  23. Patty permalink
    April 24, 2012 6:27 pm

    Hmmm…this is why I don’t like audio…the confusion factor?

  24. April 24, 2012 7:17 pm

    Sounds interesting….too bad it was confusing.

    Thanks for the review.

  25. April 24, 2012 10:30 pm

    An author I’ve been wanting to try for years, but it looks like this is not the place to start!

  26. April 25, 2012 3:17 am

    I’ve never “done” audio books, do you find you get distracted, or can you stay focussed?

  27. April 25, 2012 7:05 am

    A narrator can really make or break a book, can’t they? Glad this one turned out positive for you.

  28. April 25, 2012 7:15 am

    This sounds like one I’d be better of reading 🙂

  29. April 25, 2012 7:16 am

    … better “off” reading, not “of”

  30. Beth F permalink
    April 25, 2012 7:54 am

    Humm. I didn’t have this on my list at all. Now I’m a bit curious. I might try it in print if I decide to read it.

  31. April 25, 2012 10:14 am

    I ‘m sorry this book was confusing at first but I love your great attitude and decision to sit back and enjoy the book as best you can! I’m happy you called the ending thriling, too. I am a fan of Pete Hamill’s and look forward to reading this book at some point. Your review has heightened my interest in this book! I appreciate your comments about multiple plot lines and how they were confusing. That’s the kind of info I like knowing before I start reading the book!

  32. booksnyc permalink
    April 25, 2012 12:06 pm

    I really enjoy Pete Hamill’s books – my favorites are “Forever” and “Snow in August” but I have seen mixed reviews for Tabloid City so I don’t think you are alone in your reaction to this one.

  33. MonieG permalink
    April 25, 2012 12:17 pm

    Sounds interesting. I think I’ll put this one my back burner wishlist.

  34. April 25, 2012 1:44 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this book and it does sound interesting but probably better in print. Thanks for pointing out the audio issues. When there are too many plots lines, non-linear plots or too much jumping around, audio doesn’t work as well for me. I can do it, but it’s work!

  35. April 25, 2012 5:17 pm

    What a different way to structure the book. I think I would be too frustrated by the storyline changing continually to last to the point where it all starts coming together though. I’m not necessarily known for being patient 😉

  36. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    April 25, 2012 6:02 pm

    I hate it when I feel lost. it does nothing but make me frustrated and leaves me feeling dumb.

  37. April 26, 2012 11:22 am

    Sounds like a book I would either really, really love or not be able to get into all that much.

  38. April 26, 2012 6:44 pm

    It was good of you to “trust” in the book.

  39. escapingjourney permalink
    April 27, 2012 3:40 pm

    I like the idea of the book but sounds like one that I would struggle with at first, best to wait until I have a lot more time to read

  40. April 27, 2012 8:19 pm

    I guess this is one to do in audio, if at all, but it sounds skippable.

  41. April 27, 2012 8:33 pm

    I love Pete Hamill! He was a speaker at a lecture series I attended last year with my book club and he was the one person we would have most liked to meet at a dinner party. Have enjoyed a couple of his books already and am curious about Tabloid City… think I’ll give it a shot!

  42. April 29, 2012 12:59 am

    I find myself drawn to books that involved seemingly disparate stories coming together in a flourish in the end… shame you did not find this one as great as it promised to be.

  43. May 1, 2012 9:59 pm

    I bought this when it first came out and was super excited to read it. But then I never got around to it (actually I read like a chapter but never had time to read more). I’m glad to know that even though it’s confusing it sort of clears up later in the book!

  44. boardinginmyforties permalink
    May 23, 2012 2:17 pm

    This sounds interesting, if not confusing in some parts. Somehow the way you have described it I think it would make for a great film in the hands of the right director.

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