Brad Parks's smart-mouthed, quick-witted reporter returns in The Girl Next Door—another action-packed entry in his award-winning series, written with an unforgettable mix of humor and suspense.
Reading his own newspaper's obituaries, veteran reporter Carter Ross comes across that of a woman named Nancy Marino, who was the victim of a hit-and-run while she was on the job delivering copies of that very paper, the Eagle-Examiner. Struck by the opportunity to write a heroic piece about an everyday woman killed too young, he heads to her wake to gather tributes and anecdotes. It's the last place Ross expects to find controversy—which is exactly what happens when one of Nancy's sisters convinces him that the accident might not have been accidental at all.
It turns out that the kind and generous Nancy may have made a few enemies, starting with her boss at the diner where she was a part-time waitress, and even including the publisher of the Eagle-Examiner. Carter's investigation of this seemingly simple story soon has him in big trouble with his full-time editor and sometime girlfriend, Tina Thompson, not to mention the rest of his bosses at the paper, but he can't let it go—the story is just too good, and it keeps getting better. But will his nose for trouble finally take him too far?
Carter Ross's insignificant decision to write a feature obit about hit-and-run victim Nancy Marino, a hard-working waitress and deliverer of the very newspaper for which he works, plunges him into a far more sinister and surprisingly dangerous story in Shamus and Nero Award winner Parks's darkly humorous third mystery starring the street-smart Newark Eagle-Examiner investigative reporter. Quickly discovering there was more to the middle-aged everywoman than met the eye, including her role as a leader in her union's acrimonious labor dispute at the paper, Ross starts to suspect her death was no accident. Meanwhile, he must try to mollify his sexy editor, Tina Thompson, and attempt to wrangle an erudite but clueless intern appropriately nicknamed Lunky. Despite a less than surprising denouement, Park (Eyes of the Innocent) hits home with this installment of quirky characters, convincing color, and a Sopranos-worthy ragout of high drama and low comedy. Author tour.
Girl next door
My first time with this Author. Loved his way with words, looking forward to another read
Parks has done it again. A great suspense who dunnit with very humorous overtones. A very enjoyable read.
I Wish there were negative stars
David J. Montgomery is one of my favorite critics. One of the smartest out there. On his blog he said simply: read this book and it was enough to get me to buy. But I now realize that this must have been one reporter throwing a bone to another (an idea supported by Park's acknowledgement of DJM as someone who does him more favors than he could ever repay--true that!). Certainly this was one of them as the book could not possibly sell itself. Cliche-filled and with plot holes big enough to swim in, the main character asks near the end of the book "shouldn't I have known?" meaning shouldn't he have identified the killer earlier. I wanted to scream: yes, you flipping idiot! And keep in mind, Parks has him deliver this stunning line after spending multiple pages cataloguing all the clues his hero missed, proving that even Parks knew he'd need to explain away the protag's stupidity to readers not so dense. There is nothing to like about this book. Nothing. Not characters, not story, not prose, not anything. Yuck. It was bad enough that I wasted several hours on this dreck, but what's worse is that now I have to question reviews I never questioned before. Big yuck.