Purgatory Chasm

Steve Ulfelder, Author
Steve Ulfelder. Minotaur, $23.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-67292-8
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-00702-5
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-2426-9
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Ulfelder couples precise, evocative prose with an original private investigator in his compelling hard-boiled debut. Conway Sax, a recovering alcoholic, ex-con, and car mechanic who lives in Massachusetts, fulfills his moral obligations to the Barnburners, the AA group that got him clean and sober, by doing odd jobs for them. Tander Phigg, a Barnburner whose 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL Sax once worked on, persuades him to help retrieve the classic car—and the $3,500 deposit—from Das Motorenwerk, a garage in New Hampshire that's had the vehicle for 18 months and done nothing. When Sax visits the garage, someone he doesn't see coldcocks him. The assault heightens Sax's suspicions about Das Motorenwerk, and his later discovery of a dead body confirms them. Ulfelder smoothly navigates the many plot twists, and effortlessly introduces wrinkles in his protagonist's backstory that enhance the character. Fans of Michael Koryta's PI crime novels will find a lot to like. (May)
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