Winner of the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel
Before the New York Times bestselling success of Defending Jacob, William Landay wrote this critically acclaimed first novel of crime and suspense—perfect for fans of John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Dennis Lehane.
“Landay writes with eloquent intensity.”—The New York Times Book Review
By a shimmering lake in western Maine, a body lies sprawled in a deserted cabin. The dead man was an elite D.A. from Boston whose beat was the city’s toughest neighborhood: Mission Flats. For local police chief Ben Truman, investigating the murder will mean leaving his quiet home and joining a vengeful manhunt in a world of hard streets and harder bargains. The cops have zeroed in on a suspect, a ruthless predator targeted for prosecution by the murdered D.A. But Ben distrusts the Boston police—especially when he uncovers a secret history of murder and retribution stretching back twenty years. As past and present collide, as tribal loyalties threaten to lynch an innocent man—or let a guilty one go free—one thing remains certain: The most powerful revelations are yet to come.
Includes an excerpt of Defending Jacob
“A crackling debut that answers the question: Who will be the next Grisham?”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An inventive, gripping suspense debut . . . Landay deals out pertinent details with the finesse of a poker player. . . . A rich, harrowing and delightful read.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Landay’s] tale is reminiscent of his fellow Beantown writer Dennis Lehane, which is a true compliment.”—Rocky Mountain News
“Waiting for a new Landay novel is like waiting for a guy from Cremona to build a violin: anxious but worth it.”—Lee Child
Forced by circumstances to become a small-town cop, the protagonist of former Boston district attorney Landay's inventive, gripping suspense debut finds himself embroiled in a big-city murder investigation. Ben Truman, the young police chief in the Maine town of Versailles (pronounced "Ver-sales"), tells us early on that he gave up his pursuit of a doctorate in history at Boston University to come home and care for his Alzheimer's-stricken mother. What he doesn't reveal at least right away is the true story of his mother's death and his father's alcoholic rages. Landay deals out pertinent details with the finesse of a poker player, first describing Ben's discovery of the bloated body of a Boston assistant district attorney in a rental cabin. Is the discovery really accidental? Is the almost immediate arrival on the scene of a retired Boston cop named John Kelly as fortuitous as it seems at first? Can Ben really be as much of a small-town hick (the Boston cops call him "Opie") as he appears to be? Determined to stay on the case, Ben joins a crew of big-city cops and prosecutors (including Kelly's intriguing daughter) in a search through the blighted (fictional) Boston neighborhood of Mission Flats for the answer to the ADA's murder and a 10-year-old mystery. As bits of his personal history surface, Ben occasionally seems in danger of violating one of the rules of crime fiction that the narrator shouldn't lie to us about his role in the story. But Landay's book is such a rich, harrowing and delightful read that few will complain.
Engrossing, beyond suspenseful, intelligent and insightful writing. Absolutely couldn't put it down.
The plot surprises at every turn of a page. One of the best mysteries I've ever read. 'Good' and 'bad' become blurred, as do 'right' and 'wrong.' Highly recommend.
From the first page, I was slowly drawn in Ben Truman's investigation, until I was unable to step away from my iPhone. I am usually pretty good at figuring out surprise endings, and I was a tiny bit correct. I never saw most of the end and it shocked me. William Landray is a masterful story teller.
I'm getting a 3rd book now. What to do until he completes another?! Even if you make guesses of " who dunnit" throughout the book & end up with the correct "who", there's more than one & surprises still exist. I enjoy his style of writing, too. Visually descriptive, easy read, plus words I've never seen that fit the prose so perfectly after reading the definition.