David Corman
Created by Thomas Cook

Alfred Hitchcock believed we are all voyeurs, and made Rear Window to prove it. In The City When It Rains (1991), Thomas Cook created DAVID CORMAN, a man so alienated from life, and so addicted to watching, that he gave up his career as a teacher to become a freelance photographer. Obsessed by New York City at night, he risks everything -- including custody of his nine-year-old daughter -- to fulfill his vision. When offered a possible book contract, he chooses to investigate the death of a woman who, after throwing a doll out of a window, herself plunges to the ground. As Corman comes ever closer to the truth that was the victim, he must also face the truth about himself.

Almost more palpable than Corman are the dark, decaying, rain-soaked streets of New York which, as seen here, would make the perfect stage for a film noir. Interestingly, it was the last time (see the essential Frank Clemons trilogy) that Cook used New York as his setting, as though Corman's final revelations -- which shed light on the darkness -- were Cook's too.

The City When It Rains is another darkly, starkly beautiful book which soaks the reader with pervasive gloom until the last possible moment. Yet Cook winks at his readers and gives away his secret:

He'd come back with lots of stories. Some were edged in threats and violence, but even Victor's darkest tales had always ended on a hopeful note.

UNDER OATH

NOVELS

Profile by Sue Feder, of The Magical Mystery Tour.


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