book cover of The City When it Rains
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The City When it Rains

(1991)
A novel by

 
 
Publisher's Weekly
Manhattan is the titular city of Cook's 10th novel, which is somewhat more successful with ambience than with suspense. Freelance photographer David Corman is facing eviction from his run-down apartment and a custody battle for his young daughter, who lives with him. His crime-scene photos are unprofitable and though he has been offered a steady job covering high-society functions, he stubbornly resists work that threatens his journalistic integrity. Encouraged to create a photo-essay about a murderer or victim whose life ended as a result of a ''slow decline,'' Corman investigates the alleged suicide of a mentally unstable Columbia graduate who, despite her privileged upbringing, wound up in a slum, gradually starving but giving blood to make money to ''feed'' the doll she treated as a baby. The mystery of the woman's death unfolds as Corman's domestic situation becomes increasingly desperate. Although Cook's settings and main characters are believably rendered, the mystery is less than gripping and the narrative features obtrusive yet essentially meaningless secondary characters, including Corman's married lover and a sinister cop.

Library Journal
This is first-rate crime noir and much more; it is the affecting story of a man forced to choose among painful alternatives that compromise his independence. Freelance photographer David Corman is ''the type of guy who ought to have a board hanging over his chest, saying 'No sale.' . . . Not 'Loser.' . . . Just 'No Sale.' '' He has thrown away career, marriage, and security in pursuit of his obsession with capturing in one ''single exquisite photograph . . . what . . . really happened.'' He sits at night in his apartment, listening to police broadcasts, waiting for the call to go out after another snapshot of New York's underside. When an unknown woman throws herself from the fifth-floor window of a Hell's Kitchen tenement, Corman pursues her history, seeking a story to sell. He is unprepared for what he finds. Two-time Edgar award nominee Cook has written a haunting story of great emotional depth, which contains within it a first-rate detective story. Highly recommended.-- David Keymer, Inst. of Technology, Utica, N.Y.

Genre: Mystery

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