A Dark and Lonely Place

Edna Buchanan, Author
Edna Buchanan. Simon & Schuster, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4391-5917-0
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61120-448-3
Hardcover - 691 pages - 978-1-4104-4426-4
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4391-6584-3
Paperback - 418 pages - 978-1-4391-5918-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-61120-443-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-61120-446-9
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Half of this uneven novel from Edgar-finalist Buchanan (Nobody Lives Forever) offers a fictionalized history of the infamous, if little-known outside Florida, Prohibition-era gangster John Ashley and his moll, Laura Upthegrove. This solidly written, journalistic account can stand alone, elevating Ashley with his misunderstood criminal legacy to the ranks of a John Dillinger or a Clyde Barrow. The other half focuses on 21st-century Miami homicide detective John Ashley (no relation to the first John Ashley) and the love of his life, a beautiful model named—you guessed it—Laura. While Buchanan, a Pulitzer Prize–winning police beat reporter, clearly knows her way around cops and cop lingo, this time around the devil’s in the details. Detective Ashley’s clean-living life takes dramatic twists and turns eerily similar to those of his Prohibition-era predecessor when he’s wrongfully accused of murder. Alas, Buchanan takes the similarities to an unbelievable extreme. Smooth prose can redeem only in part the credulity-challenging present-day plot. (Nov.)
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