THE THURSDAY CLUB by Vincent & Richard Hammer Murano


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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 clichÉ-driven, beginning with Ben Rogers, Palmieri's protÉgÉ, 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.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster