Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

After Atlas by Emma Newman

Roc, 384 pages, $15

I recently read a sci-fi novel that got under my skin, in a good way, “Planetfall.” That was in preparation for reading the just-released “After Atlas,” a detective story set in the same future that contains “Planetfall.” While the two share the same universe, the characters are not the same. Some of the characters from “Planetfall” are mentioned in “After Atlas,” but none are shared between the books.

A brief background from "Planetfall": Forty years ago, a spaceship, the Atlas, left Earth for a secret planet where God lives. Lee Suh-Mi, aka “The Pathfinder,” was the charismatic leader of the thousand people who journeyed with her, and it is her vision that determined the location of the God-planet. You can read my review of that book.

One of the chosen followers on that spaceship was a young woman who left her husband and baby behind. The baby, Carlos “Carl” Moreno, has lived a life of misery ever since. His father also tried to join the pilgrimage but did not make the cut. He had a nervous breakdown and Carl was left to fend for himself at an appallingly early age. After leaving an American cult group, The Circle, at the age of sixteen, Carl managed to find himself in indentured servitude (i.e., slavery) in England for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) as a police detective, a position he has held for twenty years as this book begins. The story of how Carl reached that point is something author Emma Newman gradually reveals throughout the book. That story, too, is appalling in what it signifies about the degradation of human rights in a corporate-led world.

Carl is sent by the MoJ to investigate the death of Alejandro Casales in an upscale hotel in Dartmoor. As one of the MoJ’s best detectives, his assignment makes sense, but there’s another reason. Casales was the leader of The Circle. He rehabilitated Carl’s father and was like a second father to Carl for many years, before he rebelled and ran away. What was Casales doing in England? Why was he hanged, drawn and quartered?

Casales’ appearance is suspiciously close to the scheduled opening of a capsule Lee Suh-Mi left behind forty years ago. That is the topic du jour and one that Carl is heartily sick of. Every year on the anniversary of the blast-off of the Atlas spaceship, newshounds seek an interview with the “baby left behind.” This anniversary, with the addition of the capsule brouhaha, has made Carl’s life ten times worse. He hates his mother, he hates his father, he hates Casales, and he hates that he is owned by the British government/corporation and will be until he is about eighty years old. He lives for the day when he is free of his contract and can grow his own vegetables in his own little patch of dirt, somewhere quiet and in some uneventful time. As the Casales investigation grows murkier and more complex, he fears that the day he has been longing for may never come.

I won’t risk doing anything less than the cleanest, deepest investigation I’m humanly capable of. I can’t risk anything less than that, as their property. I’m prepared to extend my contract in order to eat proper food and live in anything bigger than a broom cupboard but not for sloppy work.

Most food is synthesized from chemical glop in 3D printers. It is Carl’s pleasure to buy real food, not like the rich buy it in fancy stores, but from carts peddling cast-off veggies and other sullied foodstuffs. The catch is that even that food is ridiculously expensive. In order to buy them — and to rent his bigger apartment — he must pay for them with an extension of his slave’s contract.

Carl has been “trained,” i.e., brainwashed, to provide the most thorough and intelligent service possible. Obedience and doggedness are enhanced traits, but lurking within the manufactured detective beats the heart of a man who may be bent but not bowed.

Newman depicts a world in which the major governments we know today are corporations in the future. Slaves are legal. Carl is lucky that his contract is with the Ministry of Justice. Other fellow “trainees” were not so lucky. Almost everyone, slave or regular, has a chip installed on their person to receive the enhanced equivalent of today’s Internet, with a computerized APA (artificial personal assistant) and, more to the point, a way for the governments to track their citizens.

As with “Planetfall,” author Newman invigorates her story with compelling characters, realistic scientific detail, and a complex storyline. With the knowledge of how “Planetfall” turned out, and of what kind of person Carl’s mother is, it is easy to see the irony and hopelessness of what sent the Atlas into its journey forty years ago and what it left behind.

If you are interested in learning more about Emma Newman’s inspiration, Bart’s Bookshelf interviewed her last year, and you can read about it.

For a genuine futuristic thriller, here’s an MBTB star!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Blood Strand by Chris Ould

Titan, 448 pages, $14.95

Do you know where the Faroe Islands are? In the cold sea between Iceland and Norway. The Faroese speak their own language, but quite a few also know Danish and English. Denmark provides them with administrative benefits but, if you go by this book, the Faroese mind their own culture and manners.

Like series set in the Scottish Isles, the cold, rainy, isolated setting lends a lot of atmosphere to a murder mystery. British author Chris Ould has chosen his setting well. Most of the action takes place on the island of Streymoy. It is more than adequately cold and rainy.

British police detective Jan Reyna — who forgoes the proper Faroese pronunciation of his name, Yan Reyná, until he is in the Faroes — is visiting on a personal mission. Under some kind of cloud at work, he has a leave of absence, and decides this is the time to find out what happened between his mother and father to make his mother flee to Denmark. He would have asked his mother, but she committed suicide when he was young. He was raised by his aunt and uncle who had moved to England. And now he journeys to the Faroes to talk with the father he had last seen more than a decade ago. That meeting, when Jan was seventeen, did not go well. Actual blood was spilled and Jan returned to England no wiser.

Actually, Reyna has come because his father is in the hospital. He suffered a stroke under strange circumstances. He was found alone in an isolated area. There was blood spattered in the inside of his car. In his trunk was a case full of money. His shotgun had been discharged. Unfortunately, Signar Ravnsfjall is unable to communicate with anyone, thus putting paid, perhaps permanently, to gaining any knowledge of his mother from Signar. The mystery deepens when the police find that the blood in the car is not Signar’s.

Reyna has not come in his capacity as a cop, but he can’t help but ask questions. Questions of his half-brothers, Magnus and Kristian, and questions of the lead detective, Hjalti Hentze. Reyna is respectful of Hentze’s authority, so he is not inclined to interfere. But Hentze realizes Reyna’s potential usefulness, and so begins Reyna’s slow absorption into the investigation.

Then the body of a young man, Tummas Gramm, is found on a beach. Hentze plays his cards close to his chest, but Reyna soon intuits that Hentze thinks the man’s death has something to do with his father’s last activities. 

It might be considered a drawback that Reyna only speaks English, but most of the rest of the world is remarkably multilingual, and the Faroese are no exception. His lack of language does not prove to be an impediment. And a good thing, too, because there are many interviews to be carried out, including with some of his family members.

Ould packs a lot into the 448 pages of his book. He tells a straightforward story, but he infuses his narrative with scenic details and interesting characters, with a small history of some small islands thrown in. He has a great sense of pacing and the story flows easily. The only gimmick he uses — and while I didn’t mind it, I don’t think it was necessary — is Reyna’s portion of the story is told in the first person, and the scenes following the rest of the characters, primarily Hentze, are told in the third.

“The Blood Strand” is a solid story, carefully plotted and well-written.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

Little, Brown & Co., 400 pages, $29

Again, here’s a toast with a cuppa my best tea to the meticulous way Michael Connelly tells a story — actually, two stories this time. His appeal ranges wide because of his straight-ahead style, lack of pretension, solid plotting, insight into our society’s ills and culture, and crime reportage disguised as fiction.

Banged up but not bowed, ex-L.A. hotshot police detective Harry Bosch continues the good fight as a reserve detective with the tiny San Fernando police department. There’s no pay but there are excellent opportunities still to right some wrongs. While it is not a universal sentiment, Harry is ostracized by a good many of his former L.A. brethren because of his lawsuit against the police department. San Fernando, however, is happy to have him, and he is pleased to join them. He has “police DNA” and retirement does not suit him.

“The Wrong Side of Goodbye” is Harry’s twenty-first adventure. Harry first appeared almost twenty-five years ago. And he has felt every year of his service since then. As “The Wrong Side” begins, Harry is an old-timer who feels the aches and pains of age. But his caginess and years of experience balance out any physical diminishment. Harry’s experience in Vietnam has often been mentioned in the series, and it comes into play once again in a vivid and poignant way.

One of the conditions of his part-time (unpaid) employment by the SFPD (an acronym Harry uses at one point to get information, hoping the person will mistake it for the San Francisco PD) is that he be allowed to carry on a business as a private investigator. As long as he doesn’t use SFPD resources for his private matters, the chief says. Connelly makes a point of bringing this up at the beginning of the story, so we can watch how Harry honors it only in the breach.

A former colleague, but not an especially esteemed one, throws Harry a case. The colleague is now in the high-end security business, and one of his high-end clients has a mysterious task for which he needs a discreet straight-shooter. Shortly thereafter, Harry is surprised to find himself in the presence of Whitney Vance, a multi-billionaire, à la Howard Hughes. Vance is old and frail, and he wants Harry to find out if he has an heir from a liaison that ended abruptly in his youth. Harry has to agree not to discuss this matter with anyone. ANYONE!

Tracing Vance’s young inamorata, Vibiana Duarte, Harry is led to a young medic who served in Vietnam, thus triggering Harry’s memories of a time that still haunts him. The most moving passages in the book come at the halfway point, when Harry realizes that he and the medic might have been on the same ship during a never-to-be-forgotten Christmas experience.

As Harry begins an investigation into Vance’s early life, matters at the SFPD are heating up. Harry has found a correlation among several rape cases, leading to a manhunt for “The Screen Cutter.” Once again, his methodical search for common denominators and his cop's Spidey-sense has led to potential breakthroughs. Although Harry is only a reserve officer, his chief has required more and more of the veteran cop's time to find the criminal.

As with all of Connelly’s books, it is hard to put this one down. He crosses his t’s and dots his i’s as he provides his readers with a close-up look at how Harry progresses through his cases. Harry’s sober pursuit of justice can be dark and a heavy weight to bear, so it is uplifting to find that Harry’s half-brother, Mickey “Lincoln Lawyer” Haller, eventually joins him in the missing heir case. Mickey is a shark and conman, with a law degree and excellent defensive skills in the courtroom. He also is written with a lighter touch and more humor. (I secretly now prefer the Haller books to Bosch’s for that reason. I guess not such a secret now.)

“The Wrong Side of Goodbye” is satisfying, thrilling, mesmerizing, and sometimes heart-wrenching.

P.S. Bygone television actress Connie Stevens is my new heroine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Planetfall by Emma Newman

Roc, 336 pages, $15 (c2015)

“Planetfall” is a sci-fi novel. It’s intriguing and original and has a fascinating main character.

Renata “Ren” Ghali is one of the original pioneers who followed Lee Suh-Mi to a planet “a million miles” away from Earth to find God. Her colony has developed a highly self-sustaining community at the foot of “God’s city,” a strange organic form that towers above them. The mythology is that Suh went to live in God’s city when the original travelers first made planetfall and she will someday reappear to give them words of wisdom. In the meantime, a settler is chosen every year to receive "the seed" Suh leaves in a sacred community ceremony. That entails actually eating an indigenous food, something the settlers usually avoid.

It becomes clear very shortly that Ren is one of the most competent people in the colony. She’s an engineer, a builder, a fixer, all skills that seem to be rapidly diminishing. As the story goes along, Emma Newman brings in disturbing aspects of Ren’s personality. This makes Ren more and more interesting. Newman tosses in back stories of Ren’s life on Earth and how she made the decision to join the space crusade.

Although the colonists think they are the only ones on the planet, a wanderer soon appears. Sung-Soo is the grandson of Suh. His story is that his parents and some others managed to survive their malfunctioning pod at planetfall more than twenty years ago, landing far from Ren’s group. Lacking the supplies Ren’s group had, their existence had been a painful scramble for basic survival. Sung-Soo is the last survivor. His appearance provides a catalyst for community discontent. Soon Ren must face the horror that her life has become.

While “Planetfall” is not a mystery, apparently the just-released follow-up, “After Atlas,” might be. You can read a précis and an excerpt here: http://www.tor.com/2016/10/06/excerpts-after-atlas-emma-newman/

MBTB Manager Jean May often lamented my propensity for sometimes prematurely reading the ending of a mystery book (to see if it was worth reading the rest of the book). I did not skip ahead to this ending. I wanted to savor the surprise and revelations. 
Emma Newman deserved that and she earned that. And it was worth it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson

Viking, 336 pages, $28

Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming, and his best friend, Henry Standing Bear, are off on their twelfth (full-length) adventure. Hulett, Wyoming, is a little town with a tiny population, but it swells when the bikers come to visit, spilling over from the famous Sturgis, South Dakota, motorcycle festival. The draw is an infamous hill-climbing contest for motorcycles. Of course, Henry has brought his classic Indian motorcycle to try his hand at the contest he won in his youth. Now, pretty far from his youth, Henry remains optimistic that he has one more win left in his toolbox.

I think the first obvious fact is that Wyoming author (and dedicated motorcycle rider) Craig Johnson never takes the easy road. “An Obvious Fact” lands pretty far from where it began. First off, the Lola, after whom Henry’s beloved ’59 Thunderbird is named, shows up, guns and grins flashing. She’s not quite a lady and she’s far from the young woman Henry romanced (not quite the correct word) years ago. Then Lola’s son, Bodaway, is injured in a motorcycle incident. Was it an accident? If not, was his gang involved? Was his secret girlfriend involved? Whatever, Walt and Henry are now involved.

Then there’s Brady Post, the ATF undercover agent working as the enforcer of the Tre Tre Nomads, one of the baddest of the motorcycle gangs, which just happens to be the one affiliated with Lola and her son. They’ve all brought their badness to Hulett. In the blink of an eye, Walt and Henry’s quixotic trip turns into something sinister.

Why is the ATF sniffing around the Tre Tre Nomads? It’s not alcohol. It’s not tabacky. It must be guns. Other than the revolvers people are using for grudge shooting and the ones used in the annual skeet shooting contest, there’s nary a gun in sight. The ATF man may have revealed himself to Walt and Henry, but he’s closed-mouthed about what he’s looking for. What does he know about Bodaway’s injury?

Then Johnson tosses an MRAP, nicknamed “Pequod” because it’s big and white, into the escalating story. The MRAP is a tank that a millionaire resident of Hulett donated to the police department. It runs at a chilling top speed of twenty-miles-an-hour and strikes ennui into the hearts of the citizens moseying in its path. Walt is happy to help out his fellow sheriff who, while proud to have the MRAP, does not even know how to start it. With its upgraded CD player, audio, and flashing lights, it providentially provides Walt with a mobile office.

Vic eventually shows up and the Absaroka gang, sometimes on the right side of the law and sometimes not, is at the service of the Hulett PD, the ATF, and Lola Wojciechowski.

Craig Johnson has set a pretty high standard for action, quotable quotes, and humor in his long-running series. His writing translates well internationally. In fact, he is about to begin a tour of France, where he is lauded and has been laden with awards. Those are obvious facts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

IQ by Joe Ide

Mulholland Books, 336 pages, $26

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! “IQ” is one of the most creative mysteries I’ve read in a long time. After I had read about fifty pages, I stopped to find out more about author Joe Ide, because his portrayal of the gang/drug/non-white Long Beach, California scene seemed so authentic. (But what do I know, right?) In fact, Joe Ide grew up in South Central L.A. and “IQ” sounds authentic because it’s based on all the gang and street stuff Ide learned when he was a kid. Yet while it’s a novel that deals with rappers, gangs, drugs, poverty, neighborhood crime, its weight is thrown behind characters and their motivations. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like a print version of “The Wire” (a show for which I had to turn on the captions), although an “aw-ight” slips in now and then. Dialect is cleaned up to aid comprehension. Hardcore details are briefly acknowledged and not dwelt upon. You may come to this book because of reviews, but the amazing ability of Ide to capture the flavor of the neighborhood and its inhabitants is what will make you stay.

IQ is the nickname of Isaiah Quintabe, an accidental private investigator. When his older brother is killed in a hit-and-run automobile accident, leaving an underage Isaiah without a guardian, it plummets the promising high school student into a life of poverty, rage, and mental turmoil. A few years later, the adult Quintabe has established a tenuous place in the neighborhood as a Sherlock Holmes-like solver of crime (or just plain problems). How did he get from the fragile teenager to the hard-working adult? That story is what makes Ide’s book a thing of beauty.

Juanell Dodson is a character in both Isaiah’s past and his present. It’s clear Dodson is a shifty character, having been a gang member and drug dealer as a teenager. Now he appears to be a hustler who finds new business for Isaiah. Their relationship has never been easy, but a lot of murky water has passed under the bridge in the eight years since they were teenagers together. Dodson has a relative who works for the mega-star rapper Black the Knife, aka Calvin Wright. Through the relative, Isaiah and Dodson learn that someone is trying to kill Cal.

Cal has a video of the first attack. Someone sent a trained pit bull into his house to maul him. It is only through a series of flukes that Cal has lived to scream another day. In his own disjointed, nonsensical way, Cal wants Isaiah to pin the pit bull assassin on his ex-wife Noelle and stop any further attempts. That’s a tall order since Cal is surrounded by people who don’t necessarily have his best interests at heart. But the money is a mighty attractive incentive.

“IQ” toggles between Isaiah’s story in 2003, when he was a teenager recently bereaved of his older brother Marcus, and 2013, with Dodson and Cal and his assorted crew. To great effect, Ide answers all questions in his own time. There are many memorable characters along the way, including Deronda, a woman who initially appears in a comic role, and Skip, a truly comically frightening, psychopathic character. Just when Ide veers toward the lachrymose, he throws in an unexpected twister and the pages rapidly turn themselves.

MBTB star for originality and a stunning combination of poignancy and absurdity!

Jackaby by William Ritter

Algonquin Young Readers, 304 pages, $9.95 (c2014)

This is labeled a young adult book. Phooey on such pigeon-holing! (As a matter of fact, there are a lot of interesting reads for older adults slotted under this label.) William Ritter has created an intriguing fantasy world with an eccentric hero and a redoubtable teenage heroine.

In 1892, in New Fiddleham, New England, R. F. Jackaby is widely known to be unusual, to say the least. He wears a bizarre, multi-colored hat and a long coat with many pockets stuffed with magical odds and ends, and sees things that others can’t. Abigail Rook, fresh off the boat, is a very young woman looking for work. She answers an advertisement for an assistant, and before she is even hired, she is off on her first adventure with the enigmatic Mr. Jackaby.

Abigail mistakenly interprets Jackaby’s accurate but farfetched observations about her recent travels to mean that he is a Sherlock-type genius. (“Let me guess, you smelled salt water on my coat, and I’ve got some peculiar shade of clay caked on my dress,” she says.) Later she finds out that his statements are related to supernatural critters he sees latched onto her outfit. If you watched the television show “Grimm,” it’s like that. Only a few chosen protectors can view the “other world,” and only they can effectively battle it.

Jackaby is a self-styled private investigator. He sometimes inserts himself into a police investigation, as he does in the case portrayed in “Jackaby,” the first book in Ritter’s series. A newspaper reporter has died, his body torn apart as if by a vicious animal and his blood drained. Jackaby senses some supernatural force at work. In fact, whatever the powerful force is, it has its footprints all over the place. One of Jackaby’s first pronouncements is that at least one more person will die that night. What no one knows at the time is that there is a potential for a catastrophe if Jackaby, Abigail, and police detective (junior variety) Charlie Cane can’t identify and stop the force.

“Jackaby” is not a subtle ghostly novel. Neither is it overly grisly or don’t-go-down-to-the-cellar stupid. It is well-balanced, slightly humorous, slightly dour, unexpectedly poignant, and very entertaining. There is a resident ghost in Jackaby’s home and a duck with decidedly un-ducklike propensities. And let’s not dwell on the frog in the aquarium in the front room. People have secrets. People have b-i-i-i-ig secrets. Bonus as far as I’m concerned: There is no prologue and no stories going back and forth in time. (That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed both those things when used well, but hey, now almost everybody uses those devices.)

This is a first book that makes you want to read the second book in the series.

P.S. Thanks to Chuck Caruso, the formidable former member of the MBTB staff, who came up with this recommendation.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

So Say the Fallen by Stuart Neville

Soho Crime, 336 pages, $26.95

Belfast author Stuart Neville has written many critically praised books, mostly police procedurals, set in his neck of the Irish woods. What sets them apart is the depth of the psychological underpinnings of his characters. He also brings in surprising elements that don’t necessarily define the main storyline but are compelling in their own right.

Serena Flanagan first popped up in Neville’s “Those We Left Behind,” as a conscientious DCI. It was a powerful novel with multiple viewpoints. “So Say the Fallen” is a worthy second entry in the series.

First of all, I always have to applaud writers who effectively present a story from the viewpoint of a different gender. The most common problem is a sort of stereotyping or caricaturing of the other gender. (For instance, women aren’t just strong, they’re super-strong; men aren’t just kind, they’re preternaturally kind.) Neville’s Serena Flanagan strikes just the right note. She is an ambitious, hard-working detective but also a caring mother and wife. The problem is to strike just the right balance without shorting any of the important elements in her life. This is another point of praise for Neville: He doesn’t whitewash Flanagan’s problems and make everything nice and easy. Her dilemma is at the core of “So Say the Fallen.”

Henry Garrick had a run of bad luck to follow a run of good luck. After his first wife ran off, he met a beautiful, religious young woman online. They married and had a beautiful daughter. Then the bad lucked started to roll in. His two-year-old daughter drowned and his wife almost drowned. Then he was in an automobile accident and lost his legs. Despite the awfulness of the recent events, his wife took faithful care of him and his outlook was generally cheery, despite his pain and immobility. His belief in God sustained him as did his relationship with his pastor, Reverend Peter McKay.

Why, then, did Henry ingest multiple packets of morphine and commit suicide?

Flanagan is assigned investigation of this case. The foregone conclusion by everyone else is that Henry couldn’t stand the pain, isolation, and dependence on his wife any longer. But something in her interviews of Roberta, the wife, and Reverend Peter has triggered an uneasiness. Despite creative investigation into the lives of the Garricks, nothing shows up.

But we know better because we are privy to Reverend Peter’s desperate musings. He is having an affair with the beautiful widow. He is feeling guilty. Is it just because he has been seeing a married woman whose husband is disabled, or is it because he has lost his faith, a serious problem for a person who is God’s earthly representative. Henry Garrick was a staunch supporter of the Reverend Peter in his time of sorrow when Peter's young wife died a few years before. As a very well off person, Henry also was a great contributor to the coffers of the church.

As Flanagan’s relationship with her husband and two children, all of whom previously have suffered trauma as a result of Flanagan’s job, deteriorates, she seeks solace in Reverend Peter’s church, although she lost her faith, if she ever had it, a long time ago.

Guilt. Guilt suffuses everyone’s story. It swirls normal moral precepts, inveigles its way into ordinary life, weighs the world down in tragedy. It is Stuart Neville’s glorious calling.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Mulholland Books, 336 pages, $26

Ben H. Winters has already written a knock-out series about The Last Policeman in a potentially apocalyptic future. He further bends and mashes expectations by writing a story about an alternate history in which slavery is still active (and legislatively protected) in the United States. Wowser!

“Victor” is a black man, but as he notes frequently there are many shades (and attitudes) of black. What does being black mean to him? He uses fake names and moves around a lot. He has a mysterious background and a mysterious purpose. Four states in the South are allowed to have slaves, and it’s not just slaves, it’s corporate, institutionalized slavery to the nth degree. If a slave escapes to anywhere in the other states, he or she is hunted down, taken back down south, and usually put to work on horrible off-shore rigs as punishment. Where does Victor fit into this narrative?

We soon find out that Victor is an agent of the U.S. Marshals Service, the governmental organization tasked with locating escaped slaves. Victor executes his job with cunning efficiency. His new project involves finding a slave named Jackdaw.

He has established himself in Indianapolis as a meek ex-slave looking for his wife still in captivity at a corporate mining facility in order to gain access to the escape network, known as the Underground Airlines, a modernization of the Underground Railway. The safe haven goal is, of course, Canada. In Indianapolis, Victor meets people who will be critical to his mission: a timid-appearing priest, a swaggering black cop, and a white woman with a young bi-racial son.

As part of his mission, Victor eventually must make his way into the slave-holding South, a region that holds bad memories for him of his own time as a slave. (Sorry, if that appears to be a spoiler.)

It isn’t just the innovative storyline that Winters (a Caucasian) presents but also his ability to fully inhabit the first-person viewpoint of Victor. Winters does a great job depicting Victor’s increasing stress and inability to shut out his competing thoughts over his moral obligations.

This is a thriller, but it’s not a typical thriller. This is a detective novel, but it’s certainly not a typical detective novel. It’s a social statement, an invective against racism, a plea for humanity. And, bonus, it’s well written.

MBTB star!