The Mojave is a graveyard. It lies between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and through it runs a road where, in the middle of desert nights, all of the human predators in those two cities come to dump their prey. The desert is a burying ground for nuclear waste, for garbage and slag from the silver and gold mines, for abandoned cars and for abandoned people. Outcasts huddle in shacks far out in the night, away from prying eyes. In makeshift labs they mix methamphetamine and speed. Everything discarded, everything killed or broken or unwanted, it seems, ends up here. Sometimes, people find things. A hiker stumbles across a skull, a rusted six-shooter, a dead cowboy who took shade under a Joshua tree a hundred years ago and never stood up again. The police dig up a body and find two more beneath it. Most of the time, though, things stay buried…
Lance Bailey, PI, is on his last case and his last legs. The murderer he has been hunting all his life is just one step ahead of him. But before he can exact his revenge, he must unravel a nasty web of conspiracy and murder in the Mojave desert. Haunted by an enigmatic nightmare and slowed down by age, Lance finds himself struggling to keep up with a world that is growing more and more fragmented and deadly with each passing moment.
This 10th Anniversary Edition of the critically acclaimed American Graveyards, with cover art by Cesar Sebastian Diaz, is the “director’s cut” of the publishing world – including three short stories related to the novel, “cut scenes,” an in-depth interview with the author, and the “Birds of Paradise” fragment – an early version of the book that now reads like an alternate, unfinished universe. All these extras provide insight into this excellent, fast-paced detective gem. But don’t take our word for it: read what the critics have to say:
“In American Graveyards, his first recorded case, elderly private eye Lance Bailey may be way past his expiry date, but he's got one last case to solve, and he will --even if it kills him. And so he heads out into the Mojave Desert, hot on the trail of the the killer of his one true love. It's an ambitious novel, flip-flopping back and forth in time, and full of a keening psychological depth that owes more than a little to Ross Macdonald.” – Thrilling Detective
“Actually, the plot isn't what keeps you reading American Graveyards; it's Nayler's more-noir-than-noir tone that draws attention, his bleak scenes ripe with sex and hopelessness, the depth of his characters and the pools of despair that lie at the bottom of those depths. Nayler is an author to watch, but whose literary visions are not easy to read and leave behind. Consider yourself warned.” – The Rap Sheet, January Magazine
"Such an engrossing and convincing read. Whilst, in your average B movie, cardboard cut-out actors hash out stale dialogue in front of wobbling sets, here the snappy prose brings these people to life. Even if Nayler is dealing with an established milieu, he never resorts to stale cliché. The writing remains razor sharp all the way through. It’s always spiky, great fun in a dark and intoxicating way.”-- Write Words
"Dark, dangerous and intoxicating, Ray Nayler's fiction is a potent elixir that will slam your senses. It'll leave you shaken and stirred, with cool characters on ice, and a plot served up with a twist. Ready for a heady shot and a slow burn?" -- Blue Murder
"Claws its way into your mind and won't leave. Ray Nayler writes like Jim Thompson . . . only his prose is twenty times better" -- Plots With Guns