Central Park West
by James Comey
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Pub Date 08 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 22 Jun 2023
Aria & Aries, Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book
The thrilling debut novel from former director of the FBI and #1 New York Times bestseller James Comey. A prosecutor's case against the Mafia is blown wide open when deadly connections between the Mob and high-ranking politicians are revealed.
When an unimpeachable witness takes the stand in a case against a powerful mobster, 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 information on the assassination of a disgraced former governor of New York, 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.
A fast-paced, authentic, and intriguing legal thriller with unforgettable characters and shocking twists, Central Park West draws on Comey's decades in federal law enforcement, including his years prosecuting the Mob in Manhattan and later as the chief federal prosecutor.
Reviews for Central Park West:
'A masterful blend of legal thriller, police procedural and psychological drama, with some of the best heroes and most evil villains to come along in years. Bravo!' Jeffery Deaver
'A truly outstanding debut novel, a sophisticated and engaging legal thriller that grabs the reader from the opening scene and doesn't let go. I loved this book!' Douglas Preston
'The plot goes like a train . . . vivid and compelling' Ian Rankin
'A great read. Brimming with been-there-done-that authority... 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
'A masterful blend of legal thriller, police procedural and psychological drama.' Jeffery Deaver
'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
'Truly outstanding . . . Grabs the reader from the opening scene and doesn’t let go.' Douglas Preston
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 31 members
I love books by authors who have been there and done it. I think this is because I really enjoy 'procedural' novels which deal with the intricate, granular details of institutions and organisations and I think you can tell when an author have lived it or just researched it.
And no-one more than James Comey can claim to have been there and done it.
This novel is about the murder of a disgraced, former New York governor and his wife who is on trial for his murder. It is also about a Mafia boss also on trial and the connections between these two cases.
Whilst the level of detail may be to everyone's taste, I loved it. The novel really takes you into the complex legal system in America as well as being a thrilling novel.
Thanks to Netgalley and Aria & Aries, Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
What a brilliant and authentic courtroom drama – I loved it! You can tell immediately that it was written by someone who’s spent many years working inside the complex legal system. It certainly shows that Mr Comey has been there and done it. I was hooked from the start. Murders, mafia and twists galore. A fascinating read with really strong characters, and it would be great to see Nora, Benny and the team in a sequel. It’s a good job that I kept reading this novel – it was quite complex and if I’d had a break from it I think I might have lost track of what was going on. The ending wasn’t quite what I’d hoped, but I know it happens. Oh, and from now on I’m going to be very careful with my Morrisons card! Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this exciting read – I’ll be looking out for more from this budding author.
I wan't sure what to expect with James Comey's first foray into the world of fiction but he was wise to start with a legal thriller, leveraging on his experience as a federal prosecutor and FBI director. Central Park West was well-written. Whilst it may come across as somewhat pedantic in parts, as someone who isn't familiar with the NY justice system and the thin veneer of cooperation which exists between federal and state, I appreciated the detailed character and location descriptions. The plot is original and fast-paced - almost like a Grisham novel/movie. I look forward to reading Comey's next book.
This is former FBI director's fictional debut, a thrilling courtroom legal thriller, packed with the kind of indepth details that one might expect from his long years of experience at the FBI and with the mob, which lend an unmistakable aura of authenticity to the text. Nora Carleton is a single mother to daughter, Sophie, and a federal Assistant DA who has mobster Dominic 'The Nose' D'Amico in her sights, and indeed it looks as if he is set to go down with the persuasive testimony of a witness at his trial. Out of the blue, D' Amica springs a surprise when he offers up the information that the murder of disgraced New York ex-Governor, Tony Burke, at his exclusive luxury home was committed by the mob.
However, Kyra 'Killer Kyra' Burke, who hated her sleazy husband and let everyone know it, is on trial for his killing, in what looks like a slam dunk of a case, being represented by lawyer Andrew Parker, convinced of her innocence. Nora can no longer rely of D'Amico for any further information when he is murdered, but she is not going to let this go. She and her crack team of investigators, the larger than life Benny Dugan with his invaluable experience of the mob, the FBI's committed Jessica Watson, and her supportive boss, Carmen Garcia, race against time in an effort to find evidence that would substantiate the former mobster's claims. It's eye opening to watch them deploy all the means in their hands in an effort to prevent a miscarriage of justice, with a guilty verdict inexorably hanging over Kyra's head. This all leads to the high profile trial of a female mob contract killer.
The level of details that Comey provides might not appeal to some readers, but for me it is this that makes his fictional debut stand out in a crowded field. I particularly liked the characters of Nora and Benny, in a twisted narrative that depicts humans in all their flawed states, and where people may not always be as they first appear, and in echoes of the complexities and darkness of the real world, not everyone faces justice for what they do. I imagine, given how successful his first foray in the world of legal thrillers has been, that it will not be long before Comey returns with another gripping page turner. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
I guess I should recuse myself from giving a review because courtroom dramas are like catnip to me. However, I won't go down that path. Central Park West combines police work, the FBI, cross agency squabbles, the mob, political corruption and courtrooms, all in a first rate thriller. The characters were interesting and the plot just kept on giving, right until the end. The novel had pace, interest, twists and a liberal dusting of human fallibility to make a most satisfying read.
This was a really good debut from this author with an authentic background of FBI and courtroom procedure.
I enjoyed this book, I thought the story was interesting and I was invested in knowing the outcome. I look forward to more books from this author
Comey has nailed it. This is a high octane ride as the action moves between courtroom, murder suspects, background investigations and the mob. Absolutely every you could wish for in a thriller. There’s no doubt that Comey had brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to this story. It’s complex and multilayered with much detail about in-house squabbles between law enforcement agencies as well as authentic courtroom scenes.
The trial scenes are dramatic and I felt I was inside the head of the defending attorney. He’s thinking on his feet as he struggles to defend his client and the reader understands his conflicts. Every character is different and very real. I’d say they’re drawn from life and Comey is clearly a gifted and original storyteller. There’s violence, humour, drama. I love the mob stories and the way those strands are drawn together makes a compelling tale. Cant wait for more from Comey; he’s an astonishing talent.
This book is at it's core a court procedural one. There are side issues of State versus Federal jurisdiction and also the involvement of organised crime.
It features a very strong cast of mainly female characters. The storyline is very clever, yet subtle and I found it really drew me in.
There is a massive twist at the end which lifts the story to a whole new level.
I was informed, entertained and surprised by this book. What more could a reader want?
I really enjoyed this book. Nora and Benny are prosecutors in New York, reporting to Carmen, and are joined by Jess, a new FBI recruit to help them build a case against the killer of a disgraced former governor, after a mafia snitch hints that the case isn't what it seems..
The story involves the governor and his family, multiple murders, the mafia, police and politics. The investigation and the courtroom drama are gripping and exciting. the team members have a great rapport and are supportive of each other, and the story includes their personal lives and families, so you really want them to succeed. Highly recommended
An excellent insider’s account of the US criminal justice system and a coruscating legal thriller with a twists and turns throughly.
The characters are well drawn and the plot credible and written with authority and authenticity.
All in all this was a real page turner which I thoroughly enjoyed.
More please I hope.
So... Nora is a prosecutor and on the cusp of putting a bad guy away for a very long time. Until however it all goes a bit south when the defendant, Dominic D'Amico, offers up an 11th hour plea bargain pertaining to information on the murder of a disgraced ex-Governor. Although he points the finger in a different direction, there is already someone else on trial for that crime, his ex-wife Kyra Burke, and it looks to be a slam dunk. And then D'Amico is murdered.
But that ball had already started rolling and Nora, and her crack team of investigators, join forces with Kyra's lawyer Andrew Parker to act on D'Amico's information and prove Kyra's innocence.
So... a book by the former director of the FBI. Ok so he should know what he is writing about. Which I am happy to say, he does. Well, within my limited experience! But where it falls down a little is in the delivery. It might just be my inexperience with the genre as a whole but it didn't flow quite as much as I would have liked it to have. That said, it was both interesting and intriguing and kept my attention nicely throughout, culminating at the end with a satisfying ending.
I loved the characters and really hope that this is the start of a series, which I suspect it might be as there is a lot of groundwork laid down and I would be surprised if not. And I'd like to read more from the characters. If it is then my one piece of advice to the author would be that we know he knows his stuff, there is no need to keep proving it. Maybe dial back the superfluous information not relevant to the actual plot. I think it would make the narrative flow better.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.