Blood Alley
a new novel by
Tom Coffey

click to purchase Blood Alley A BookSense Notable Pick
by the American Booksellers Association

Michael Connelly Michael Connelly
Blood Alley is a completely absorbing and enthralling tale. Tom Coffey doesn't miss a beat or a detail as he takes us into the brilliantly realized world of New York City circa 1940s. Coffey uses the details to create a convincing mosaic of a dark world where anything can happen."

Publisher's Weekly
starred review

Publishers Weekly "Set in New York City in 1946, this superb crime novel from Coffey (Miami Twilight) will remind many readers of the hard-hitting work of James Ellroy. Soon after Patrick Grimes, a psychologically scarred WWII vet who's a reporter for a tabloid newspaper, arrives at a crime scene in a seedy Manhattan neighborhood known as Blood Alley, he realizes that the police are intent on framing the African-American watchman who discovered the body of society girl Amanda Price for murder.  Grimes's independent investigation soon puts him at odds with Amanda's wealthy family as well as his own supervisors at the paper.  The reporter doggedly follows a twisted trail of real estate transactions and corrupt businessmen to uncover a number of powerful people who might have wanted Amanda dead.  Sterling prose ("It was the voice of a girl who knew she would never be lonely because all her hellos were given to people who wanted her company") and a pulse-pounding plot combined with an authentic picture of a mob-ruled New York City make this a compelling read.  (May)"

Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews"A daughter of the very rich is found dead among the very poor, and suddenly a young reporter has a mission.  Patrick Grimes works for The New York Examiner, the second best-read scandal sheet in post-World War II New York City.  That is, he'd like to think of himself as working for the paper.  At the moment, he's only a probationer on the rewrite desk, living in hope.  So when circumstances compel Editor McCracken to dispatch the 23-year-old WWII veteran to a crime scene, he smells opportunity in the brutal murder of Amanda Price, older daughter of Harrington Price, one of the city's wealthiest, most powerful men.  What was Amanda doing in Blood Alley, the name given to a particularly poverty-stricken, vice-ridden, violent composite of urban ugliness?  Nobody but Grimes seems to care not the steely-eyed, granite-hearted Price, nor his willful, Circe-like younger daughter, nor anyone in the NYPD.  Blatantly racist cops have arrested William Anderson, the friendless black night watchman, and beaten out of him a confession Grimes knows is bogus.  To prove it, he sets to work, experiences an epiphany and comes to a grave conclusion.  A complex, often gripping crime story that should come with a warning. What Coffey (Miami Twilight, 2001, etc.) sees through his glass isn't just dark, it's stygian."

Mystery Scene Magazine
Mystery Scene
... "Just about everyone and everything in Coffey's Manhattan is corrupt: the press, the police force, the politicians, and most of all, the city's Old Guard. In such an environment, big money usually trumps justice, and that seems to be the case here. Blood Alley -- with its grim slaughter houses, overcrowded tenements, and sordid bordellos -- becomes merely a pawn on New York's ever-changing cityscape. Historical, yet steeped in a very modern social outrage, the back story of BLOOD ALLEY might send some readers off to the library to research the true history of the area and the massive real estate deals that eventually leveled it."     Betty Webb

Neil Whitfield
"Blood Alley seeks to recreate post-war New York. It does so very successfully, the plot ultimately concerned with underworld and high capitalist shenanigans around the creation of the New York UN headquarters. The political incorrectnesses of the time on race and other matters are faithfully recreated, but there is a fairly subtle moral compass for the 21st century at work in the tone too, without losing the authenticity and, um, colour."

Patrick McMullan, The Daily Beast
A period book about 1946 in NYC, which involves an Irish-American newbie reporter for a tabloid newspaper who stumbles upon an unfolding Drama about two sisters, real estate, nightlife, high and low society, racism, crime and human nature. It was complex and well-written as well as unpredictable. Rich with details and easy to read. I most often read non-fiction (and emails these days) and this book mixed fact and fiction. A wonderful read."

Gary J. Galbreath, PhD
Gary Galbreath "
Finished Tom Coffey's book last night; a good book, reminiscent of the style and structure of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, or (more recently) Ross MacDonald.  Probably Chandler is the best analogy: a mixture of drama, mystery, societal corruption, and human weakness, with the narrator being the sole person trying to right the wrongs.  The main difference is that in all the above authors' works, the narrator more or less succeeds in his quest in each story, while in the Coffey book the narrator is beaten by the evil forces around him (unfortunately, more like real life?)."    Associate Director & Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Biological Sciences, Northwestern University  and  Research Associate, Geology Department, Field Museum of Natural History

Crimespree Magazine
This is a great mystery set in an exciting time and Coffey has really delivered the goods here."    Issue #25  (PDF format)

ForeWord Magazine
"Patrick Grimes is a night-shift rewriter for the New York Examiner. It's late 1946 and his only grown-up experience in life so far took place north of the Arno river. When a murder tip comes in during a wee-hours lull, Grimes is sent out with the crime scene photographer to cover the guy's back, and fork out for expenses. Like the blood of the dead young woman trickling down the alley to the street, so this incident begins to point to many other, much bigger events.

Author Tom Coffey is a staff editor at the New York Times, and his third novel, Blood Alley is dirty, unhappy, and real. The action takes place around Turtle Bay, the original point of ignition for the New York Riots during the Civil War. Mafia bosses may have changed nationality, but the bigotry hasn't softened with the passing of time. At the center of the story is the land deal for the present (and very real) United Nations. Real characters, like Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel, make things happen, or not. Brutal, nasty, racist, corrupt—this is New York City at it's swanky and incorrigible best.

Bookaholic, for the Mystery Addict
..."Coffey is a terrific writer who has never received the attention he should, but if you read his first book, The Serpent Club, you’ll want to read this."   (pdf format)

Irish America Magazine
"History and murder mingle in 'Blood Alley,' a new murder mystery by Tom Coffey. Patrick Grimes is a self-described lapsed Irish Catholic who works at the lowest rungs of the old New York Examiner newspaper. When a wealthy socialite ends up dead, and an apparently innocent man is charged with the heinous crime, Grimes becomes part of the story he is merely supposed to be reporting. Coffey brings the underside of Manhattan life alive in 'Blood Alley,' as Grimes not only goes about solving the crime but also posing timeless, philosophical questions." "Coffey has written a powerful novel about a brutal murder in Manhattan and the Machiavellian shenanigans of those who worship mammon. Patrick Grimes, 23, a lapsed Irish Catholic, is a rookie rewrite man for The New York Examiner. A decorated war hero, he is "cursed by skepticism," but he has good reasons for not trusting those in authority.

In a squalid stretch of slaughterhouses, breweries, tenements and flophouses wedged along the East River, the body of a rich young woman is discovered, and an innocent black man, William Anderson, is railroaded as her killer. In seeking to establish Anderson's innocence, Grimes battles an array of ruthless, power-hungry adversaries and puts his own life at risk.

Blood Alley is a cut above most murder mysteries. Coffey casts his protagonist as a philosopher, a man who, in spite of his pessimism, is driven by a love of justice and struggles against all odds to find the truth.
  Roy E. Perry, for The Tennesean

Houston Chronicle
"...Coffey does great work with New York of the late '40s. 
The clattering din of the el, the lonely sawgrass reaches of outer Staten Island, the rancid racism and the rapid-fire newsman banter — all lend an aura of authenticity to the book's bleak tale.
"    P.G. Koch
" enjoyable rampage ... the spiral of Blood Alley is satisfying. The writing is tightly paced, with well-placed descriptive touches."    Olivia Varley-Winter