MANHATTAN NORTH HOMICIDE by Thomas & William Harrington McKenna


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Detective first grade McKenna has seen firsthand many of the most notorious cases in recent Manhattan history and reports the facts in the streetwise patois of a seasoned gumshoe. McKenna joined the force in 1965 and quickly climbed through the ranks until he became a detective and a member of the elite Hostage Negotiating Team. He was directly involved in the Preppie Murder case, the investigation of the Central Park ""wilding"" in which a female jogger was beaten senseless by a gang of youths, and countless sordid crimes of passion and stupidity. He also recounts cases involving the odd, bleakly comic misadventures of the drug-addled, and he opens a fascinating window onto the riotous days of the late '60s in New York. But it's the most infamous crimes in Manhattan that form the backbone of this book. McKenna was often the first detective on the scene, and he ably describes the initial, depressing look at the crime and what may have happened. The Preppie Murder (in which a teenager from Manhattan's upper-class Upper East Side was killed by a former lover after what he described as ""rough sex"") is particularly well discussed, and McKenna's compassion for the victim rings true. It is unfortunate, however, that the detective offers no fresh insights into these crimes or into the criminal character. It is also unfortunate that the narrative foregrounds the ""as told to"" element by frequently mentioning cowriter Harrington, and McKenna's repeated refrain that all races and genders are welcome on the police force borders on harping. Written in a shorthand reminiscent of police reports, this is nevertheless an entertaining and attractive read.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1996
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's