Irish author McKinty follows up 2003's acclaimed Dead I May Well Be with an outstanding and complex crime novel that should appeal to fans of hard-boiled Celtic scribes such as Ken Bruen and Ian Rankin. Alexander Lawson, a down-and-out ex-cop with a heroin habit, had been a rising homicide detective in Belfast's Royal Ulster Constabulary when he was abruptly transferred to the drug squad. He soon gets caught stealing heroin from an evidence locker and resigns in disgrace. A Scotland Yard cop named Douglas, convinced that the story doesn't fit, vows to discover the truth. Then, in Denver, an old girlfriend of Lawson's, Victoria Patawasti, winds up dead. After the slain girl's father receives an anonymous tip that the police have arrested the wrong man, he persuades Lawson to investigate. In the States, Lawson's first stop is the nonprofit environmental agency where Victoria worked. He finds that she discovered major discrepancies in the agency's banking accounts, and suspects that got her killed. Lawson goes undercover, taking a fund-raising job at CAW (Campaign for the American Wilderness), where he gets an inside look at slick owner Charles Mulholland and an even closer look at his wife, Amber, a beautiful young seductress. As the action intensifies, Lawson comes up against a deeper, hidden case. This is not only an expertly crafted suspense novel but also a revealing study of addiction. Agent, Bob Mecoy. (Jan. 11)
Forecast: A blurb from Frank McCourt will help lure readers of literary Irish fiction who don't normally touch crime fiction. The moody Denver skyline on the jacket is also a plus.
Release date: 12/01/2004