Larry King? The talk show guy? Wrote a mystery? Oh yeah --- and it reads like he had a ball doing it. The main guy is hip liberal talk show host Arthur Vandermeer, who resembles Mr. King in many respects. But if the famed TV host of Larry King Live is half the hypochondriac his creation is, he'd barely be able to get out of bed in the morning.
Larry Moon, a right-wing tabloid newspaper columnist, is pulled in as a last minute replacement to interview his nemesis, Vandermeer, for a fluff piece on spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Moon, whose career is nosediving, was angling for a front-page byline with a big star, but this doesn't sound like what he had in mind. Then he falls into an exclusive when Vandermeer's daughter, Allison, who knows how to push her father's buttons, announces while Moon is at the house that she's going to elope with Goonie, a kid from the projects. But she ends up missing, and Vandermeer, fearing a kidnapping, is distraught.
Some other New York types enter the story in a mirthful mix-up --- a monosyllabic private eye who hates the Disneyfication of Times Square; a hotel doorman from Queens with grandiose plans to strike it rich; throw in a madam, a pint-sized madman brawler and a befuddled, idea-a-minute media magnate and you have a Manhattan cocktail of mayhem.
In a Runyonesque tribute to the spirit of the characters who inhabit the Big Apple, King states in a forward that he hopes the love, admiration and affection he and his co-writer Tom Cook have for New York and its people shine through. It most certainly does!
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011