Booked to Die, the first book in John Dunning’s bestselling, award-winning Cliff Janeway series, is “a joy to read for its wealth of inside knowledge about the antiquarian book business and its eccentric traders” (The New York Times Book Review).
Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he’s an avid collector of rare and first editions. Bobby Westfall is a local bookscout, a gentle and quiet man who has sold enough valuable books to keep himself and his cats fed and housed. When Bobby is murdered, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect’s spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway’s wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge.
Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop—all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. When prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now Janeway’s life is about to change in profound and shocking ways as he attempts to find out who’s dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.
“One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read” (The Denver Post), Booked to Die is the first in the Cliff Janeway series. It is “a standout piece of crime fiction…Compelling page-turning stuff” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
Denver cop and rare book collector Cliff Janeway is introduced in this engrossing whodunit from two-time Edgar nominee Dunning. A sensitive and introspective sort, Janeway chafes in the hard-edged role of law enforcer so often demanded of him. When a down-on-his-luck book scout named Bobby Westfall is murdered, Cliff at first suspects local thug and personal nemesis Jackie Newton. Newton's girlfriend, a victim of physical abuse, makes Cliff more determined than ever to nail Newton. Sensitivity notwithstanding, he goes after his quarry with both fists cocked and both barrels aimed, neglecting any semblance of correct police procedure. This ironic twist shapes the plot as Janeway delves further into his city's antiquarian book trade, whose practitioners display an expertise exceeded only by their greed. Crisp, direct prose and nearly pitch-perfect dialogue enhance this meticulously detailed page-turner. Mystery Guild alternate; paperback rights to Avon.