cover image Give Up the Dead: A Jay Porter Novel

Give Up the Dead: A Jay Porter Novel

Joe Clifford. Oceanview, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-60809-204-8

In Clifford’s unrelentingly bleak third Jay Porter novel (after 2016’s December Boys), the 34-year-old New Hampshire estate clearer spends a lot of time bemoaning his fate. Porter doesn’t have a lot going for him—he’s divorced; his best friend, Charlie Finn, is a boozer; and his abrasive personality doesn’t endear him to competitors like Sheriff Rob Turley, a former schoolmate. A stranger calling himself Vin Biscoglio shows up at Porter’s door and says he works for wealthy Ethan Crowder. Crowder wants to hire Porter to locate his 16-year-old son, Phillip, who may be at an addiction rehab place called Rewrite Interventions at his mother’s behest. When Porter’s boss, Tom Gable, is attacked and left in a coma, Porter becomes a suspect. Porter gets embroiled in both cases, which turn out to have a common genesis. Readers may struggle to relate to Porter, an unwilling sleuth who gets banged around but keeps plodding forward in this dreary outing. Agent: Elizabeth Kracht, Kimberly Cameron & Associates. (June)