Ex-mob enforcer Isaiah Coledrige has hung out a shingle as a private eye in New York's Hudson Valley, and in his newest case, a seemingly simple murder investigation leads him to the most terrifying enemy he has ever faced
When a small-time criminal named Harold Lee turns up in the Ashokan reservoir--sans a heartbeat, head, or hands--the local mafia capo hires Isaiah Coleridge to look into the matter. The mob likes crime, but only the crime it controls . . . and as it turns out, Lee is the second independent contractor to meet a bad end on the business side of a serrated knife. One such death can be overlooked. Two makes a man wonder.
A guy in Harold Lee's business would make his fair share of enemies, and it seems a likely case of pure revenge. But as Coledrige turns over more stones, he finds himself dragged into something deeper and more insidious than he could have imagined, in a labyrinthine case spanning decades. At the center are an heiress moonlighting as a cabaret dancer, a powerful corporation with high-placed connections, and a serial killer who may have been honing his skills since the Vietnam War. . .
A twisty, action-packed follow-up to the acclaimed Blood Standard, Black Mountain cements Laird Barron as an inventive and remarkable voice in crime fiction.
Barron's second novel featuring retired mob strongman Isaiah Coleridge (after 2018's Blood Standard) is as nasty as a cornered pit viper and its plot is about as sinuous. Isaiah is newly established as a PI in his Hudson River Valley digs when he's contacted by the Albany Syndicate to investigate the murder of thug-for-hire Henry Lee. Someone removed Lee's head and hands with a serrated blade before dumping his corpse in the Ashokan Reservoir, a ghoulish dispatch that recalls the handiwork of Morris Oestryke a psychopathic hit man and serial murderer, whose kill count is legendary and whose techniques border on the supernatural. The only problem is that Oestryke is supposed to have died in an explosion and/or been assassinated by the mob. Meanwhile, Isaiah discovers that Lee's girlfriend is the daughter of an industrialist mogul whose business concerns reek of black ops espionage and cover-ups. Barron peppers the text with literary references and philosophical reflections that provide rich counterpoint to the violent bashing and bloodletting. Fans of hardboiled crime fiction and wiseguy vernacular will be well satisfied.