cover image Resolve


J.J. Hensley. Permanent, $28 (248p) ISBN 978-1-57962-313-5

The Pittsburgh Marathon serves as the backdrop for this impressive first novel from former police officer and Secret Service agent Hensley. Dr. Cyprus Keller, a former cop turned criminology professor at Three Rivers University, dodges a bullet by rejecting the advances of beautiful co-ed Lindsay Behram, in an embarrassing scene in his office witnessed by Steven Thacker, Keller’s “chronically miserable, and completely obnoxious, graduate assistant.” When Lindsay turns up strangled shortly afterward, Keller finds himself drawn into a situation that threatens his professional standing and provokes Steven to physically assault him. Meanwhile, Keller, an amateur marathoner, trains for the race with three colleagues, and then during the race resolves to take the law into his own hands. This artfully constructed mystery makes effective use of the third-rate-college setting and of Pittsburgh, as revealed by the course of the marathon, marked by each of the 26 chapters plus a brief final one headed “.2.” Agent: Felice Gums, About Words. (Mar.)