"Many readers will enjoy the peek inside the organization's hierarchy. Also enjoyable is the spirited romance between Doyle and Vicky Stanopolis, his partner in more ways than one. And the surprise ending is a wowser."
--Mystery Scene Magazine
"Heffernan's style harks back to traditional hard-boiled mysteries...The Scientology Murders isn't likely to make the church's recommended reading list, but for mystery fans it's an entertaining tale."
--Tampa Bay Times
"The Dead Detective pursues miscreants attached to the Church of Scientology from their Florida headquarters to the Yukon State. . .Highly entertaining."
"Action moves from Florida's Gulf Coast to the wilds of Alaska, where a most satisfying conclusion takes place. Heffernan pulls no punches in taking on Scientology (and, briefly, Tom Cruise) in this long-awaited return of Harry Doyle. Hard-boiled action with a layer of controversy."
"The good guys--Doyle; his detective partner, Vicky Stanopolis; and Clearwater police sergeant Max Abrams--remain entertaining and appealing throughout."
"While investigating a murder that has also left his much-loved adoptive father seriously wounded, Harry Doyle (aka the Dead Detective) finds himself contending with executives from the Church of Scientology."
--Publishers Weekly, Spring 2017 announcements, Mysteries & Thrillers
"This is a fun and fast paced novel...If you are a thriller or mystery reader and curious about the inner workings of Scientology, then The Scientology Murders is a must read."
"This is Heffernan's second novel about the 'Dead Detective,' Harry Doyle, a Pinellas County homicide detective, who in this book investigates a series of murders that lead back to the intensely secretive Church of Scientology."
--Tampa Bay Times
"The Dead Detective is Heffernan's first novel in seven years, and wherever he's been, he hasn't forgotten how to write a good, gritty police procedural. . .This edgy police drama succeeds in capturing the hysteria that grips Tampa residents when a celebrity criminal is found dead in a cypress swamp."
--New York Times Book Review on The Dead Detective
A series of murders in Florida have left the police force baffled and Detective Harry Doyle's much-loved adoptive father seriously wounded. As his investigation becomes personal, Doyle--known to his peers as the Dead Detective--finds he must penetrate one of the most private institutions in the country in order to track down those responsible.
Clearwater, Florida, is the spiritual center of Scientology, a religion that encourages its members to remain pure and true to their beliefs. One senior leader has a misguided young man in his employ, a twisted soul who will stop at nothing to make sure the rules are followed--even if it means shaming the very virtues espoused by the church.
With veils of secrecy surrounding the church's inner sanctums, the detectives are stonewalled at every turn. Eventually, however, the investigation leads Doyle, his partner Vicky Stanopolis, and Clearwater Sergeant Max Abrams to the far reaches of Alaska, where they come face-to-face with death in a form they never expected.
Edgar-winner Heffernan's ambitious if flawed sequel to 2010's The Dead Detective offers an engaging critique of the Church of Scientology. Det. Harry Doyle tangles with the secretive church in Clearwater, Fla., its spiritual headquarters, after his adoptive father is shot and seriously wounded while trying to rescue a young Scientologist who was targeted by the office of church discipline, then later found dead. As Doyle investigates outside his jurisdiction and off the books, the body count climbs. The crimes give Heffernan a chance to explore the bizarre tenets of the faith, sometimes through overly explanatory dialogue. The dual-procedural approach that chronicles both the police pursuit and the moves of the villains highlights the cartoonish nastiness of senior church officials. A slapdash pursuit to a remote Alaskan town feels tacked on and contrived, though the good guys Doyle; his detective partner, Vicky Stanopolis; and Clearwater police sergeant Max Abrams remain entertaining and appealing throughout.