Fighting Corruption in New York City

Enemy Within
Robert K. Tanenbaum

Reviewed by Donna G. Pierce

Listening time: 5.5 hours
Retail: $26
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Two NYPD cops stake out a snitch, and after a high-speed chase with bullets whizzing, the informant is dead inside his vehicle. One of the cops is a noted hero, and after shooting the informant pleads self-defense by claiming the snitch tried to ram the police car.

In his latest novel, Enemy Within, Tanenbaum calls up his recurring characters, Chief Assistant District Attorney Butch Karp and his wife, private investigator Marlene Ciampi, to fight corruption. Karp investigates the shooting of the informant, and gets suspicious when those higher up want to “push through” the paperwork.

The case involves allegations of racism and police conspiracy. Marlene, who is from Queens, has left the world of private investigations to help run a corporate security firm. She becomes wealthy off stock from the suspicious death of a Soviet VIP, and turns to alcohol when she can’t handle her overabundance of money.

Their eldest child, Lucy, is a genius and skips school to do charity work with the homeless. A serial killer nicknamed “The Bum Slasher” begins targeting the homeless people she cares for, and Lucy begins searching for answers.

Eventually, Marlene and Butch begin investigating the police case together, and it leads them to the world of the homeless. With Lucy’s help they start tracking the serial killer, and the hero cop shows up, throwing a kink into their plans.

There are three plots in this novel that the author tries to weave together. The death of the Soviet VIP, and Marlene’s alcoholism and spending sprees, don’t fit in a novel that is built around corruption. Readers of Tanenbaum’s previous novels will enjoy the book, but others may find it a little confusing and weak in plot.
Grade: B


The Talisman
Stephen King

On a brisk autumn day, a 13-year-old boy stands on the shore of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here. His father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America – and into another realm.
The Talisman
28 hours
Retail: $75
Simon & Schuster Audio

At the Altar of Speed
Leigh Montville

He was The Intimidator, a nightmare in the rear-view mirror, a seven-time Winston Cup champion, a driver whose personal success story and dedication inspired the adoration of millions of fans. Then on February 18, 2001, just seconds from the Daytona 500 finish line, the world of stock-car racing suffered a devastating loss as Dale Earnhardt fatally careened into a track wall.

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Beginning with Earnhardt’s early days growing up in small-town North Carolina, veteran sports writer Leigh Montville examines how a ninth-grade dropout started on the dusty dirt tracks of the South, went through two marriages and a string of no-future jobs before turning 25, then took about a million left turns to glory.
At the Altar of Speed
3 hours
Retail: $18
Simon & Schuster Audio

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel
Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht

Always be ready for the worst. You’re at risk from the moment you step outside your front door! Here are step-by-step instructions on what you need to know, and now. Learn how to cross a piranha-infested river, stop a runaway train, build a shelter in the snow, treat a scorpion sting, survive a sandstorm or airplane crash, escape from the trunk of a car, and pass a bribe.
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel
3 hours
Retail: $19.95
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