cover image On Harrow Hill: A Dave Gurney Novel

On Harrow Hill: A Dave Gurney Novel

John Verdon. Counterpoint, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-64009-310-2

Verdon’s brilliant seventh mystery featuring retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney (after 2018’s White River Burning) showcases a nifty impossible crime variant. Gurney’s former partner, Mike Morgan, who once saved his life, is now the police chief of the affluent village of Larchfield, N.Y., where Gurney now lives and crime is low. Then an intruder slashes the throat of Angus Russell, Larchfield’s main power player, in his home. The killer’s identity appears to be obvious, as the fingerprints of Billy Tate, a local ex-con who threatened Russell, are found in Russell’s bedroom, but it’s impossible for Tate to be guilty. The night before, Tate was pronounced dead after being struck by lightning and falling from the roof of a church he was vandalizing in front of multiple witnesses, including Morgan. Gurney joins the inquiry, which gets even weirder after a video shows Tate breaking out of the coffin where his body was stored. The surprises keep coming as the plot builds to an impressive reveal. Verdon has never been better at crafting a bizarre setup and resolving it in a satisfactory way. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Mar.)