By: Wayne Robins
In Joe Strupp’s new novel, “The City and County” (Dry Bones Press), the city and county is San Francisco, that Golden Gate demimonde where hot-dog journalism, corrupt politics, and anything-goes lifestyles co-exist in a cioppino of human drama and intrigue.
Subtitling his book “A Novel of San Francisco Newsmakers,” Strupp knows of who, which, what, why, and where he speaks, having worked for The Argus in nearby Fremont, Calif., and for Ted Fang’s The Independent in the City by the Bay, among other papers, before joining this magazine as an associate editor and hotshot reporter nearly three years ago.
“I never wanted to be a novelist,” Strupp told this writer in an exclusive telephone interview from an adjoining cubicle in the E&P newsroom. “But after several years in San Francisco, I became intrigued by the way newspapers and politicians can manipulate each other and the public, because the city is so unusually diverse and open to almost anything. I thought, ‘Let’s take that power and put it in the most abusive and greedy hands and see what happens.'”
Strupp takes pains to remind the reader that his 420-page opus “is in no way an effort on my part to base anything on actual people or events. … It’s all my fantasies and imagination.” A colorful figure in the E&P office, Strupp has never allowed his California dreaming to change his baseball allegiance, though to the relief of some he said he would not wear his trademark extra-wide New York Yankees’ neckties again — at least until next spring.