In 1997, Andy Rosenzweig, an inspector for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, was abruptly reminded of an old, unsolved double homicide. It bothered him that Frankie Koehler, the suspect, had eluded capture and was still at large. Rosenzweig had known the victims of the crime, for they were childhood friends from the South Bronx: Richie Glennon, a Runyonesque ex-prizefighter, and Pete McGinn, a restaurateur and father of four. Rosenzweig resolved to find the killer and close the case. Gourevitch brings together the story of Rosenzweig's pursuit with an account of Koehler's criminal personality and years on the lam. A Cold Case carries us deep into the lives and minds of an extraordinary cop and an extraordinary criminal whose lives were entwined over three decades. Set in a New York City that has all but disappeared, and written with a keen ear for the vibrant idiom of the colorful men and women who peopled its streets, this is nonetheless a book for our times. Gourevitch masterfully transforms a criminal investigation into a searching literary reckoning with the forces that drive one man to murder and another to hunt murderers.
"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
Reviews from Goodreads
A Cold Case
Dead or Alive
ON NOVEMBER 15, 1944, an Army deserter named Frank Gilbert Koehler was arrested for burglary in New York City. Frankie, as he liked to be called, had no criminal...