cover image The Whole Lie

The Whole Lie

Steve Ulfelder. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-60454-7

The Massachusetts gubernatorial race forms the backdrop for Ulfelder’s excellent sequel to his Edgar-finalist debut, Purgatory Chasm (2011), which introduced recovering alcoholic Conway Sax, Framingham auto mechanic and part-time investigator. According to the polls, Betsy Tinker, a popular U.S. senator, should win in a landslide, but the politically ambitious Bert Saginaw, who’s running for lieutenant governor with Tinker, has “a little John Edwards problem.” Seven years earlier, Saginaw had a love child with Savvy Kane, a former flame of Sax’s. Sax agrees to help fend off extortion threats aimed at driving Saginaw from the race, but at the cost of putting himself at odds with his current girlfriend, his boss at the auto body shop. Political cynicism reaches new lows as the election nears, and more than one major player doesn’t survive. Readers will want to see more of Ulfelder’s tough but vulnerable lead, whose narration offers a warts-and-all view of his multifaceted character. Agent: Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary Management. (May)