BOOKS: On The Trail of an Exclusive

Two fictional Florida journalists hit a moral swamp

MANY NEWSPAPER REPORTERS are convinced that they have a novel in them if only their damned editors and creditors would give them the time to write it. Pete Dexter, 51, is one of the happy few journalists who have lived up to this belief. While working as a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, he moonlighted God's Pocket (1984), a gritty story set in that city's seamier neighborhoods, which earned an unusual amount of attention for a first novel. Three others followed, including Paris Trout (1989), which won the National Book Award.

Dexter no longer has to write on deadline for...

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