I’ve just finished Manhattan is my Beat, the first (but certainly not the last) Jeffrey Deaver novel I have read. It was brilliant! I love crime novels, and I love crime movies, and this novel effortlessly blends the two together. Add to that a really likeable protagonist and a gripping storyline, and you’ve got a 1988 classic that definitely deserves to be more well known than it is.
In this novel we meet Rune, a twenty-year old woman who works in a video store and loves fairy tales. And when I say loves, I don’t mean someone who fondly looks back on Disney films. I mean someone who imagines scenarios in her head and actively narrates from a fairytale perspective. That’s cool, it didn’t bother me, but I can imagine why some people would look at Rune and think of her as irritating and childish. Moving on… Rune is a fairly existential person. She goes with the flow (a constant phrase used by her is “thems the breaks”) and doesn’t really plan for anything. This is until a customer from the video store is killed and Rune barely manages to survive intercepting the killer.
She believes clues to the murder can be found in an old movie, Manhattan is my Beat. Mr Kelly, the deceased, rented the movie 18 times before his death, and once Rune does some digging, she realises that the movie is based on a true story; a bank heist that occurred in Manhattan and involved controversy surrounding the police. With the aid of her overactive imagination, Rune decides that Mr Kelly had found where the money from the heist had been hidden. As usual, the story is far more complex than this. And this is where Deaver really begins to shine. The characters and the storylines are so well structured, so intelligent, and the twists and turns just keep coming. Quickly Rune finds herself in a desperate race to solve the mystery of Mr Kelly’s death before others with more sinister intentions beat her to it. But with a host of colourful characters along the way, Rune must learn how to tell who to trust before placing her trust in the wrong person could just be the last mistake she ever makes.
Another novel and another amateur sleuth. I think I’ve found the decade/s where my new favourite novels come from!