cover image The Long Way Out

The Long Way Out

Michael Wiley. Severn, $29.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4483-0984-9

Set in North Florida, Wiley’s strong sequel to 2017’s Monument Road matches an unusual protagonist with a plausible and gripping plot. Nine years earlier, Dast was convicted of murdering two adolescent brothers based on perjured police testimony. He spent three years on death row, and five more in a Supermax facility, before his exoneration. Dast’s success after his release in finding the brothers’ real killer demonstrated his talent as an investigator. Those skills are sought by a desperate family when 14-year-old Antonia Soto, a Mexican immigrant, goes missing. Dast, who’s been working at a rescue facility for big cats, regularly picks up chicken carcasses to feed his charges from a poultry farm where the teen’s father worked. He got to know Antonia in the process, but refuses to help look for her, believing her disappearance was probably voluntary. That decision haunts him after her body is found with a gunshot wound in the back of her head. Dast investigates her murder and a second, possibly related one. Wiley carefully balances story developments with his exploration of the psyche of a lead committed to justice despite being denied it. A third series entry is more than warranted. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Jan.)