NECESSARY by Ken Jackson


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This thin reporter-vs.-Mafia episode stars Tulsa newsman Nathan Necessary--and if the hero's name seems strained and self-conscious, so does most of the verbose, self-indulgent narration here. Nathan--50, alcoholic, a once-great reporter now reduced to copy-editing--gets an anonymous tip about local corruption involving a county commissioner, the building industry, and (it eventually turns out) the Mob. So, assisted by an ambitious young copy-boy, the veteran reporter follows several leads, goes on the wagon, plays a dangerous charade with a Mafia don, and ultimately traps a corrupt official--thanks to a faked piece of testimony-on-tape. And this frail, derivative scenario is padded out with lots of Front Page-style newsroom atmosphere (some of it mildly engaging) and with Nathan's pretentious musings on his career, his alcoholism, and his sex life with two very different women in the whore/madonna mold. (""She came closer to turning out that pinpoint of laser light in my brain than she had before. Very close in the immutable moment of orgasm that became and was that night timeless, could not be measured in hours or a night or many nights, in breath and word and height and breadth and heartbeat and blood race. In immersion and near immolation in feeling, belonging, committing."") Ho-hum investigation, no mystery, excruciating filler.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's