Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
In their newly released book detailing the history of a covert “mini-CIA” within the NYPD, Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Goldman show how the vast police surveillance apparatus in New York failed to catch the plan of Afghan-American al-Qaida operative Najibullah Zazi to bomb the New York subway system, who was eventually thwarted by federal authorities.
“He was right under the NYPD’s nose and they missed him,” Goldman told me for an interview about his book, “Enemies Within” (published here earlier this week.)
But now, the head of the NYPD’s covert intelligence division (largely made public by Apuzzo and Goldman’s work) is pushing back. “They [the FBI] fucking let explosives into New York City,” Cohen told the Daily Beast, decrying the federal efforts to track and stop Zazi.
But, as HuffPo’s Matt Sledge highlights, and “Enemies Within” reports, it was the New York Port Authority police, not the FBI, that let Zazi’s car enter the city.
To repeat what Apuzzo told me, the NYPD Intel unit that specifically engaged in preemptive policing with scant regard for First and Fourth Amendment protections, failed to do the very thing it proposed to do: Fish out threats like Zazi:
At every turn, these [NYPD] programs were built specifically to catch someone like Zazi, an al-Qaida trained bomber who was coming up out of New York City to bomb the subways. At every turn, these programs failed. At every single turn, they had infiltrated his mosque, they had turned his imam into an informant, they had infiltrated his student co-conspirator group. They were in the travel agency, they had done surveillance of the travel agency where they’d bought the tickets to go to Pakistan. They were in the YMCA around the corner from his house. There was no shortage of surveillance
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.