Cover image for Cityside : a novel
Cityside : a novel
Heffernan, William, 1940-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow & Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
276 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
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In the world of high-stakes, post-Watergate journalism, Globe reporter Billy Burke is assigned a story about a dying child whose family is too poor to get the surgery he desperately needs and becomes torn between his conscience and his career.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The 1970s are a big pop culture phenomenon these days: the clothes, the hair, the music, even the television shows being made into movies. This novel takes a look at journalistic practices of a fictional New York paper, the Globe, in the post-Watergate era. Billy Burke, the quintessential battered newspaperman whose integrity outweighs everything else, including the shady maneuverings of his opportunistic editor, is assigned to a tearjerker/hospital-exposestory. A big private hospital won't operate on a young Latino boy with a hole in his heart, yet surgeons are falsifying records left and right. The dashing Burke, dating a gorgeous reporter, falls for the young boy's mother--until his own ex-wife comes back into the picture. He still has feelings for the ex, and they have an autistic child. Heffernan obviously means well here, and despite the white hats worn by Burke and the women in his life, all the bad guys aren't necessarily all bad. --Joe Collins

Publisher's Weekly Review

Heffernan (The Dinosaur Club) whips up a superior potboiler in this tale of corrupt newspapering, brutal cops and greedy doctors. It is New York, 1975, and in the post-Watergate era of journalistic hubris, newspapers are out to nail bigshots any way they can. But not Billy Burke, a conscientious journalist at the New York Globe, who senses that the media is becoming indecently self-righteous. Anyway, he's got other things to worry about, namely, his ruthless editor, Lenny Twist, and his daughter, Annie. Annie is autistic, and when she was institutionalized, five years ago, Burke broke up with his wife, Julia. He barely survived the emotional turmoil, and he still drinks more than he should. Now Lenny slaps him with a double assignment. It seems a five-year-old Puerto Rican named Roberto Avalon can't get a lifesaving heart operation because Dr. James Bradford, the surgeon who could perform it, wants $90,000 up front. Burke's job is to make Roberto into a citywide sob story. In addition, he's supposed to get the goods on Burke's place of work, the University Hospital, which is allegedly defrauding the city. Burke soon gets emotionally involved with Roberto and Maria, his divorced mother. He realizes that the only thing he shares with Whitney, his girlfriend in the magazine section, is great, athletic sex. But will he end up with Maria? Or will he make a new start with Julia? Heffernan takes the reader behind the scenes of tabloid journalism, describing in fascinating detail the attendant perks, backscratching and hypocrisy. Writing with verve, enthusiasm and a flair for unconventional detail, Heffernan wrings a lot of entertainment out of his formulaic tale. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

More media fallout; here a reporter struggles with his conscience. Should he write the story that could win him a Pulitzer or risk his career by denouncing his newspaper's greedy ways? From an Edgar Award winner. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.