Synopses & Reviews
A few years ago, Andy Rosenzweig, chief investigator for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, was abruptly reminded of an old double homicide: a friend from his youth, a former prizefighter, had been murdered along with another man in 1970. It bothered Rosenzweig that the killer had eluded capture for nearly three decades. He resolved to track down the fugitive and if he was still alive to close the case.
In a surprising, intensely dramatic narrative, Philip Gourevitch brings together the story of Rosenzweig's pursuit with a mesmerizing account of the killer's criminal personality and his decades on the lam. A Cold Case carries us deep into the lives and minds, the passions and perplexities, of two extraordinary men who embody opposing but quintessentially American codes of being-that of the lawman and that of the outlaw. Set in a New York City milieu that has all but disappeared, and written with a keen ear for the vibrant idiom of the men and women who once peopled its streets, this is a book for our times, written with a force and immediacy that compel attention.
When Gourevitch's first book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, appeared in 1998, the novelist Robert Stone said of the author, "There is no limit to what we may expect of him." With A Cold Case Gourevitch sustains the promise of his earlier work, masterfully transforming a criminal investigation into a searching literary reckoning with the urges that drive one man to murder and another to hunt murderers.
"The mystery...is not how these murders occurred or...the killer was caught...rather, the nature of the crime itself." Scott Turow
"I think Philip Gourevitch is an ace researcher and a knockout writer. You'll love A Cold Case." Elmore Leonard
"...elegant book about a brutal, long-forgotten crime. Gourevitch's...portrait of gangland in New York in the 1960s is brilliant." Sebastian Junger
"In ruminatively asking why a man murders and how he feels about it, Gourevitch continues in the vein of his award-garnering book about genocide in Rwanda, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (1998). A subtle, skillful storyteller, he also gives his investigation of a good cop and a bad guy some real New York flavor in the person of Koehler's cynical lawyer." Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
“Gripping, first rate . . . beyond the outright suspense here . . . is a meditation on the very essence of crime.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“This terse, eloquent book reminded me of many of the classic European novels, because the expected end is not the end at all. The mystery, it turns out, is not how these murders occurred or how the killer was caught but, rather, the nature of crime itself.”—Scott Turow
“Part study of the criminal mind, part appraisal of the strange mechanics of justice, it is a trenchant, pithy, atmospheric book.”—Times Literary Supplement
“The book's province lies somewhere between those of Cain and Camus . . . Matthew Arnold said a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life . . . An inversion applies here: a piece of life by Philip Gourevitch is a work of art.”—Jonathan Kiefer, San Francisco Chronicle
“Gourevitch is one of the finest journalists working today; his portrait of gangland in New York in the 1960s is brilliant.”—Sebastian Junger
“Using a snappy, terse prose style that mimics a police procedural . . . A Cold Case is a lively, vastly readable book.”—John Freeman, The Denver Post
"A Cold Case" carries readers into the lives and minds, the passions and perplexities, of an extraordinary cop (Andy Rosenzweig) and an extraordinary criminal (Frankie Koehler) whose lives entwine over three decades. Photos.
From a prize-winning author and, in Elmore Leonards words, “a knockout writer,” comes a masterfully written and gripping tale of a determined investigator who reopens an unresolved case of double homicide in New York nearly thirty years after the brutal event. Philip Gourevitch vividly evokes the almost vanished gangland of New York in the sixties, and carries us deep into the lives and minds, the passions and perplexities, of two extraordinary men who embody opposing but quintessentially American codes of being—the lawman Andy Rosenzweig and the outlaw Frankie Koehler. With A Cold Case
, Gourevitch masterfully transforms a criminal investigation into a searchingliterary reckoning with the urges that drive one man to murder and another to hunt murderers.
About the Author
PHILIP GOUREVITCH is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His first book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (FSG, 1998), won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He lives in New York City.