Selected as one of Amazon's Best Books of the Month for February
Former Suffolk County cop Gus Murphy returns to prowl the meaner streets of Long Island’s darkest precincts with a Russian mercenary at his back in the stunning second installment of Reed Farrel Coleman’s critically acclaimed, Edgar-nominated series.
Gus Murphy and his girlfriend, Magdalena, are put in harm’s way when Gus is caught up in the distant aftershocks of heinous crimes committed decades ago in Vietnam and Russia. Gus’s ex-priest pal, Bill Kilkenny, introduces him to a wealthy businessman anxious to have someone look more deeply into the brutal murder of his granddaughter. Though the police already have the girl’s murderer in custody, they have been unable to provide a reason for the killing. The businessman, Spears, offers big incentives if Gus can supply him with what the cops cannot—a motive.
Later that same day, Gus witnesses the execution of a man who has just met with his friend Slava. As Gus looks into the girl’s murder and tries to protect Slava from the executioner’s bullet, he must navigate a minefield populated by hostile cops, street gangs, and a Russian mercenary who will stop at nothing to do his master’s bidding. But in trying to solve the girl’s murder and save his friend, Gus may be opening a door into a past that was best left forgotten. Can he fix the damage done, or is it true that what you break you own...forever?
Shamus Award winner Coleman delves deep into the wounded psyche of his ex-cop lead, Gus Murphy, in his outstanding sequel to 2016's Where It Hurts. Gus, who's still struggling with the sudden death of his 20-year-old son, John Jr., kills time working as a courtesy-van driver shuttling between a ratty Suffolk County hotel and Long Island's MacArthur Airport. Meanwhile, the hidden past of his friend Slava Podalak, the hotel's night bellman, has resurfaced with a vengeance, and Gus becomes a witness to murder. In addition, Gus's confidant, Bill Kilkenny, a former priest, asks him to help the wealthy Micah Spears find out not who butchered his granddaughter but why. Spears makes Gus an offer impossible to resist funding a youth sports foundation in John Jr.'s name. Coleman doesn't pull any punches or settle for pat character arcs in presenting a realistically flawed Gus, who realizes that his morality "was not so much a search for the truth as a set of rationalizations that let sleep at night."