Central Park West

A Crime Novel

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Pub Date 30 May 2023 | Archive Date 30 May 2023
Penzler Publishers, Mysterious Press

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In the thrilling first crime novel from the former director of the FBI, a murder investigation reveals deadly connections between high-ranking politicians and the mafia

The gripping crime fiction debut from former FBI director James Comey takes readers deep inside the world of lawyers and investigators working to solve a murder while navigating the treacherous currents of modern politics and the mob.

When a years-long case against a powerful mobster finally cracks and an unimpeachable witness takes the stand, federal prosecutor Nora Carleton is looking forward to putting the defendant away for good. The mobster, though, has other plans. As the witness’s testimony concludes, a note is passed to the prosecution offering up information into the assassination of a disgraced former New York governor, murdered in his penthouse apartment just days before. It’s enough to blow the case wide open, and to send Nora into a high-stakes investigation of conspiracy, corruption, and danger.

Drawing from the author’s decades in federal law enforcement, including his years in Manhattan as a mob prosecutor and later the chief federal prosecutor, Central Park West is a fast-paced legal thriller with an intriguing plot enriched by real-life details and experiences. That unique perspective gives the novel much of its allure, but it’s the unforgettable characters, shocking twists, and courtroom scenes as authentic as they are dramatic that will leave readers looking forward to more from this bold new talent in the genre.

About the Author: Since graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1982 and the University of Chicago Law School in 1985, James Comey has been a prosecutor, defense lawyer, general counsel, teacher, writer, and leader. He most recently served in government as Director of the FBI. His best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership was published in 2018 and made into a 2020 television limited-series. His second book, Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust, also a New York Times best-seller, was published in 2021. Central Park West is his first crime novel.

In the thrilling first crime novel from the former director of the FBI, a murder investigation reveals deadly connections between high-ranking politicians and the mafia

The gripping crime fiction...

Advance Praise

"A nonstop thrill ride! Central Park West is a masterful blend of legal thriller, police procedural and psychological drama. And it’s populated with some of the best heroes and most evil villains to come along in years. Bravo!" - Jeffery Deaver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Lincoln Rhyme series

"Central Park West is a truly outstanding debut novel, a sophisticated and engaging legal thriller that grabs the reader from the opening scene and doesn’t let go until the surprising ending. In between the author weaves an intricate and stylish story with vivid characters, playing out in a brilliant New York setting. Comey knows exactly how things work at the FBI and DOJ, and Central Park West opens a door into a fascinating and complex world of tradecraft, criminal investigation, political corruption, legal wrangling, and murder. I loved this book—highly, highly recommended! " - Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of the celebrated Agent Pendergast series

"James Comey’s intimate knowledge of law enforcement makes Central Park West a winning legal thriller, but the book is so much more than an insider’s account. Memorable characters, a gripping plot, and breathless pacing combine for a truly outstanding debut—one that announces a bold new talent in the mystery genre." - Harlan Coben, New York Times #1 bestselling author of I Will Find You

"James Comey combines his insider knowledge of every level of the justice system with a natural storytelling voice to create a winning debut in Central Park West. More books, please." - Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author of Find Me

"I loved this novel. Could not put it down. Central Park West is a smart, nuanced legal thriller that truly delivers. It’s a modern ‘good guys vs the bad guys’ story in which nearly all of the good ‘guys’ are actually strong, smart, steely women. It’s a smart and satisfying read that I could not recommend more highly." - Nicolle Wallace, host of MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” and New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres

"Hard to believe Central Park West is a first novel. It reeks of authenticity and the plot goes like a train. The courtroom scenes are tense and the cast of characters vivid and compelling. This is the sort of debut publishers dream of." - Ian Rankin, internationally bestselling author of A Heart Full of Headstones and the John Rebus series

"Central Park West is a great read. Brimming with been-there-done-that authority, it’s clear James Comey knows this world like the back of his hand. And he delivers it with the addictive style of an expert storyteller." - Michael Connelly, New York Times #1 bestseller of the Harry Bosch series and Desert Star

"A nonstop thrill ride! Central Park West is a masterful blend of legal thriller, police procedural and psychological drama. And it’s populated with some of the best heroes and most evil villains to...

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ISBN 9781613164037

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Featured Reviews

This I learned from the former FBI Director: if you consistently order from the Starbucks secret menu, even while in disguise, using a burner phone, and paying cash, the FBI can find you.

Let’s welcome James Comey to the group of crime novelists who really know what goes on behind the scenes — his knowledgeable descriptions in this debut novel assure you that he has insider knowledge about the way federal attorneys and FBI agents really work (not as lone wolves with secret past personal histories driving them forward).

This is a legal thriller that primarily follows Nora Carleton, a US Attorney, dealing with organized crime, whose latest case has a connection to the murder of a Harvey Weinstein-ish ex-governor. The “Luv Guv’s” ex-wife has been accused of the murder, but Nora’s federal defendant in another case opens a suspicion that maybe the swine-ish politician was knocked off by the mob. Included on Nora’s team is a seasoned ex-cop investigator, Benny, and a fresh out of Quantico FBI agent, Jessica. She also has Carmen, an experienced boss, supporting her. There is some warring between the FBI and NYPD and their respective attorneys, so it is necessary to keep a scorecard. For whatever reason, the Manhattan DA does not want the feds affecting the sensational murder case, so it’s up to the United States Attorney team to determine if Kyra Burke is being framed even as the trial is ongoing.

I appreciated the lengthy procedural and acronym explanations that lended to the authenticity and complicity of the novel. (No yarn strings for the FBI, just different colored Expo markers). This is a psychological drama about whether the justice system will work properly (is there a “nexus” or we can’t prosecute even though we have a pile of evidence?) provides as much suspense as the whodunit. And, surprisingly, from a new male author, women are the primary good guys (Nora, Jessica, Carmen, Kyra) and integral to the plot. Comey’s insider knowledge can also be scary — as when he talks about the digital dust we all leave behind (not just from our phones) with likes, logins, Starbucks orders (!), Uber rides, Google geolocations, that the government can sweep into a pile and collect a “pretty detailed picture of a life.”

This turns out to be a suspenseful, believable story, very worthy of a continuing series, if Comey chooses to reunite this team in the future. 5 stars.

Thank you to Mysterious Press/ W.W. Norton and Company and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!

Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:
Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): YES Dominic “The Nose” D’Amico has penetrating green eyes.
Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): NO But I had to look up the garden-like Pomander Walk to see if it was a real place.

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Superb first novel. .NY Federal Prosecutor Nora Carleton is working non stop to put away a crime boss when he surreptitiously gives a note offering knowledge of the real killer of the former NY governor, another case bring tried.
The story takes off and just gets better and better with fast paced plot developments, intriguing side stories and fascinating characters. The author's familiarity with the NY Feds, the habitat, and the way they operate within and around the criminal world, is apparent from page one.
I had a hard time putting this one down and hope another one follows .

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Central Park West by by James Comey is a thrilling first crime novel by the former Director of the FBI. It is clear from the very beginning that he has a depth of knowledge and experience about crime and the people who commit crime. James Comey permits the reader to discover actions and connections that occur behind the scenes while Nora, the federal prosecutor, attempts to solve the murder of a former governor of New York. Politics, organized crime, and the legal community are all involved in this murder case, and they are not always on the same side. There are twists and turns as the case develops that involve corruption at some of the highest levels. Central Park West is a fast-paced book that will keep your attention until the final page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves both mysteries and thrillers. I was given the opportunity to read an advance copy of Central Park West by James Comey from Mysterious Press through NetGalley.

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4.75/5 stars! Woah! I did not realize that the author of this book was a former FBI director! Holy smokes! That being said, my reviews are standardized to the content, not the author. I did feel like his background allowed him to delve really deep into the underlying motivation of these investigators that we might not see from other authors. I also love that at its heart, this is a legal thriller. We don't see enough good legal thrillers. I couldn't read this book fast enough. I do feel like, at times, it was an overload of information, but this was a page-turner and I can't wait to see what's next for James Comey's dive into writing.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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I was pleasantly surprised by the literary chops shown by former FBI Top Cop, James Comey, in his first fling with crime fiction. His intimate knowledge of the workings of federal agencies and local lawmen lends credence to this legal thriller.

The book is full of procedure and jargon that is well explained by the author as he leads us step by step into the solution of the murder of a NY ex-governor living in his extravagant Central Park West penthouse. US Attorney, Nora Carleton, deals with organized crime but finds her current case brings her butting heads with Manhattan DA’s murder investigation.

Kyra Burke is the estranged wife of the ex-guv, Tony Burke, and is accused of the murder. She is many years his junior but fell in love with the man believing he was a feminist and advocate for women’s rights – JFK without the zipper problem. Turns out she was wrong about everything, including the zipper. Nora Carleton is prosecuting Dominic ‘the nose” D’amcio who wanted to barter info on the Burke murder in exchange for protection. He claimed it was a mob hit.

And so the story is layered, piece by pieces, with a bevy of well fleshed characters. I would love to see a second installment using the same personalities and format. I found the story intriguing and believable. I think some length could be cut by a talented editor but overall, this is a tight piece. Mr. Comey, may I have some more?

Thank you to Mysterious Press/ W.W. Norton and Company and NetGalley

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Memorable, multi-faceted characters and a twisty, psychologically dense plot kept me on my toes throughout the book. This captivating debut novel both teaches and entertains the reader as the author leads us masterfully through complex political and legal situations, often intertwined as in real life. Although former FBI director James Comey already has many impressive chapters in his career, he can now add best-selling author to his lengthy resume.

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For all your readers who love legal thrillers and courtroom dramas, this is a perfect recommendation -- made even more exciting because it is James Comey's debut fiction novel. As an author, Comey truly understands the genre and "gets" the readers. That, plus obviously drawing on his authentic real life experiences, makes this a book that checks all the boxes and goes way beyond. I truly look forward to recommending this title.

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I guess ordering something unusual at Starbucks while simultaneoulsy using your points card is not a great move if you want to stay under the radar. I was interested in this book by the premise and the author. I hoped Comey had a different twist to things due to his time in government. He does and this is a well done debut novel. It almost reads like two parts and each is really good. I loved the behind the scenes stuff that isn't in a lot of other novels. I look forward to reading more in the future. It ends in my mind the perfect way as only in movies does everything wrap together in a perfect way.

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Comey may be the new, hot crime fiction author we've been waiting for! In this, his first fiction book, he hits a home run. A very intelligent, believable, intriguing story, without the typical rule-breaking, kick-ass "super-cop" so many authors sink to using. No, this book is full of very interesting insights into the FBI's methods, courtroom procedures and technological applications into crime solving. And who would know more about this than a former FBI director? The author really digs deep and turns out an incredibly interesting novel. I heartily recommend this book, and am eagerly awaiting his next book.

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Central Park West is an intriguing tale of murders and courtroom drama. There are two separate stories revolving around the Mafia and their disciples and a struggling single mother who is a prosecuting attorney. There are several murders, court trials, prisoner visits and, somehow, Mr. Comey ties them all together in an interesting fashion. His knowledge of how the FBI operates is apparent and the investigative techniques and tools utilized throughout the book are astounding and amazing — Big Brother is always alert and watching you!

I can wholeheartedly recommend this novel to all readers and thank NetGalley and Mysterious Press (and especially James Comey for a captivating page turner debut novel) for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to publication.

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