By Peter Schwartz
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Thirteen years ago, Richard Neer put pen to paper on his first book, called “FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio.” After almost 30 years as a disc jockey for WNEW-FM, Neer told the story about how corporate interests destroyed a medium that millions grew up cherishing.
Now, the popular WFAN talk-show host has written his first novel, entitled “Something Of The Night.” It’s a story about an unpublished manuscript that threatens to start a sexual-abuse scandal surrounding a small Catholic school on the Jersey Shore.
The potential scandal threatens to endanger the school’s lucrative basketball program if the manuscript is released, and we find out to what lengths a priest would go to cover it up.
“It’s something that can really bring the program down because it involves the priest and a little sex thing in the school,” said Neer.
In the book, private investigator Riley King takes on a job for an alluring female literary agent to find the author of the manuscript who vanished shortly after submitting the book. With publishers not taking risks on unproven talent, the unpublished author is trying everything in order to get his work noticed.
King is an ex-FBI agent who walked away to start his own small detective agency in Toms River, New Jersey.
“He basically quit, which a lot of people don’t do,” said Neer. “You generally stay with that for a career as long as they’ll have you. He kind of got fed up with the politics and bureaucracy of it — and the procedures of it — and he just couldn’t work for other people.”
As a youth, King went to Catholic school and was treated badly before dropping out. In the book, we find out how this affects how he pursues the case.
The subject of a scandal at a school with a sports angle is not something new for anyone involved with sports. The Penn State scandal captivated the nation and became a huge topic on sports-talk radio.
“I’ve always said on the air that I think this whole scholarship thing with athletes is a shame, and I don’t like it,” said Neer. “I really think that people should go to school to get an education, and if they want to play a sport there should be a way for them to do that without having to go through the fake student-athlete thing that’s in college.”
King’s character is aided by sports-talk show host Rick Stone in uncovering a web of deception. Stone, who dates a football sideline reporter, was originally a more prominent figure in the book, but as Neer continued to come up with different drafts he decided to go in a different direction.
“I probably went through a dozen different drafts for this book,” said Neer. “As it went on, I found Riley King to be the more interesting character. I also didn’t want people to think that Rick Stone was me.”
Stone works at a fictional powerhouse station down the Jersey Shore. The sideline reporter is all about her career and uses Stone’s sports knowledge before walking out on him. At that point, he becomes heartbroken and his whole life just disintegrates.
Meanwhile, King encounters a mafia figure, a local businessman who is the school’s chief benefactor and who may or may not be the reason the book went away. The book takes a look at whether or not the mob figure is a good guy or a bad guy, and how bad guys rationalize by doing good deeds to make up for their sins.
If you don’t get enough of King’s character in “Something Of The Night,” have no fear. King will be back very soon in Neer’s next book, “The Master Builder.”
“Something Of The Night” can be ordered on Amazon.
For more on Neer, check out his bio here.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @pschwartzcbsfan.
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