The Death and Life of Bobby Z is about impersonation. Written by Savages author Don Winslow, the novel follows Tim Kearney, a small-time criminal who, in the interest of saving himself from a prison death at the hands of gang members, agrees to impersonate legendary (and deceased) dope smugger Bobby Z so the DEA can trade him for one of their agents, who has been captured by a cartel. As can be expected when one decides to impersonate an infamous drug lord, Kearney finds himself in over his head, plopped in a desert compound with Z’s former employers, employees and lover. Adventure ensues.
I’m behind on my reviews lately because tomorrow will be the final day in my own eight-year impersonation of someone else. Not a drug kingpin, mind you, an impersonation at which I would fail miserably (do kingpins own cats?), but rather a convincing impression of someone who knows anything about journalism, financial news, digital strategy or management. In short, I will be concluding my tenure with Crain’s New York Business.
I call my stint at Crain’s an impersonation not because I drove the thing into the ground, or because I think I’ve done a bad job in any of the four roles I’ve held at the company since 2007. Rather, I have since Day One (which in this case was my sophomore year of college, when I joined Crain’s as an intern) been surrounded by high-caliber journalists who taught me more in the first six months than a communications major did in four years. Some lessons I learned sneakily—eavesdropping on senior staffers to figure out how one successfully rejects a PR pitch—while others were offered up freely. Sometimes I learned by doing things right, but just as often by doing them wrong, leaving some poor editor to, for example, sort through my pathetic early attempts at feature writing. Basically, I’m a rookie who managed to sneak in with the pros, and somehow never got caught.Continue reading “So long and thanks for all the fish”