New York Dead

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

When Sasha Nijinksy takes a dive from her twelfth-story apartment terrace in front of the startled eyes of Detective Stone Barrington, the off-duty officer pursues the person he thinks threw her over the railing. An injury prevents Stone from overtaking the suspect, who escapes unidentified. Amazingly, Nijinsky survives ling enough to be loaded into an ambulance, but when the ambulance collides with a fire truck en route to the hospital, Nijinsky disappears. Was the fall attempted suicide, or murder? Did she survive the crash, only to be kidnapped? Was her disappearance voluntary? On the eve of becoming a prime-time newscaster, Nijinsky appears to have had the world at her command, yet a diary she has left behind hints at depression and dissatisfaction with life.

Gutter-level workings of the police department, including the framing of an innocent suspect, and disbelief in Barrington’s ability to go along with the frame-up, result in the detective’s dismissal from the force. Officially off the case but unable to drop it, Stone repeatedly finds himself pulled back into the action.

The story operates on several levels—sexy Cary Hilliard, secretary to the TV executive who would have coanchored the newscast with Sasha Nijinsky, becomes Stone’s new love interest—and the final chilling revelations of who did what fit neatly into place from all angles.