Books by Vincent Murano

THE THURSDAY CLUB by Vincent Murano
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

Routine NYPD conspiracy-thriller that should have been better, considering Murano's years as an NYPD Internal Affairs detective (Cop Hunter, 1990) and Hammer's credits as a true-crime (Beyond Obsession, p. 93) and fiction writer (Dance Down the Mountain). The authors spring a nice little surprise up-front, when veteran homicide cop Felix Palmieri, who looks to be the story's hero through his investigation of several cases—including the murders of a black hooker, a top mobster, and an Arab diplomat—is himself gunned down in a dark alley. The remainder of the story, though, is clichÇ-driven, beginning with Ben Rogers, Palmieri's protÇgÇ, a steadfast Internal Affairs cop determined to track down Palmieri's killer by sifting through Palmieri's last cases—even as he's asked by the newly elected mayor to look into charges of corruption against financier Eugene Donatello, a prospective deputy mayor. Rogers's diggings soon draw unwanted fire—an attempted hit- and-run; a vague hands-off warning by curiously amenable mob-boss Generoso Ruggieri; the vicious murder of a snitch. It's unclear to Rogers which act ties to which case, although he neatly solves one puzzle, the drug-related murder of a nurse. Meanwhile, his investigation of Donatello brings the cop up against the Thursday Club, a powerful cabal composed of Donatello, a beloved top cop, a respected bishop, and others—and when Rogers uncovers proof of the Club's involvement in insider-trading and in a 25-year-old murder, tying most of Palmieri's cases together, the Club and its as-yet unidentified (though obvious) chief go after Rogers, who finally must turn for help—with a twisty payoff—to the enigmatic Ruggieri. Armchair cops will nail the villains way before the hero does; but the real let-down is the authors' failure to tap fully into Murano's background: Their NYPD/municipal power-plays are pure pulp, and their city streets have as much depth as a studio backlot. Read full book review >