The First Two Pages: The Good Cop by Peter Steiner

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

In my intro to last week’s First Two Pages essay by Anna Scotti, I wrote, “It’s not every day that I host a regular contributor to The New Yorker at The First Two Pages….” This week, ironically, I’m hosting another regular New Yorker contributor: Peter Steiner, who contributed more than 400 cartoons to the magazine over a quarter-century; in fact, his cartoon “On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog” stands as the most-reproduced cartoon in The New Yorker‘s history. But beyond his cartoon work and painting, Steiner has also distinguished himself as a novelist, beginning with 2003’s A French Country Murder, the first in his Louis Morgon thriller series. Today, with the release of his latest novel, A Good Cop, Steiner debuts a new hero, Willi Gessmeier, one navigating some complicated moral terrain—as you’ll see in the thoughtful essay below.

Check out Steiner’s website for more information about all his work—his fiction, his painting, and his cartooning—and do pick up The Good Cop, which promises not only to be a final historical novel but also to provide some provocative commentary on our own times.

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.