MIDNIGHT is a wonderful, high-end caper novel. It’s a one-sit read that takes place within the claustrophobic confines of several blocks in Lower Manhattan, in and around the New York County Courthouse. If I were pitching the book as a film, I would describe it as “A Simple Plan meets Weekend at Bernie’s” with a dark edge. For you, though, I’ll go into a bit more detail.
On a cold New Year’s Eve Day in New York, Judge Alvin Canter is in chambers to do some end-of-the-year housekeeping. The most important of these is the review and issue of a highly anticipated ruling on a motion in a contentious civil action involving the union representing court officers and other personnel. The ruling has been written by Canter’s clerk, an underemployed attorney named Tom Carroway, who is the judge’s right-hand man. Carroway and Carol Scilingo, the judge’s secretary, keep the office humming right along so well that the judge almost doesn’t need to be there. So when he sustains a sudden and fatal heart attack in chambers within an hour or two of arriving at the courthouse, no one outside of Carroway and Scilingo notices, at least at first.
"MIDNIGHT is a wonderful, high-end caper novel. It’s a one-sit read that takes place within the claustrophobic confines of several blocks in Lower Manhattan, in and around the New York County Courthouse.... Kevin Egan...has always eschewed quantity for quality. He has a cinematic style that lends itself nicely to the storyline, which you can easily view on your mental projector."
What drives MIDNIGHT is a rule peculiar to the New York County Courthouse to the effect that when a judge dies, his staff keeps their jobs until the end of the calendar year. Thus, if Canter had been considerate enough to depart the world on January 1, 2, or anytime in the new year, Carroway and Scilingo would have remained employed. Having died on the last day of the last year, Canter has inadvertently issued a termination notice for them as well. They need their jobs, as one might expect. Actually, they really need their jobs. Carroway has a dangerous guy --- a loan shark enforcer --- after him, the type who does not take “no” for an answer. Scilingo is a single mom with a