cover image What You Break: A Gus Murphy Novel

What You Break: A Gus Murphy Novel

Reed Farrel Coleman. Putnam, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-17304-2

Shamus Award–winner Coleman delves deep into the wounded psyche of his ex-cop lead, Gus Murphy, in his outstanding sequel to 2016’s Where It Hurts. Gus, who’s still struggling with the sudden death of his 20-year-old son, John Jr., kills time working as a courtesy-van driver shuttling between a ratty Suffolk County hotel and Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Meanwhile, the hidden past of his friend Slava Podalak, the hotel’s night bellman, has resurfaced with a vengeance, and Gus becomes a witness to murder. In addition, Gus’s confidant, Bill Kilkenny, a former priest, asks him to help the wealthy Micah Spears find out not who butchered his granddaughter but why. Spears makes Gus an offer impossible to resist—funding a youth sports foundation in John Jr.’s name. Coleman doesn’t pull any punches or settle for pat character arcs in presenting a realistically flawed Gus, who realizes that his morality “was not so much a search for the truth as a set of rationalizations that let [him] sleep at night.” [em]Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell Management. (Feb.) [/em]