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Mission Flats Paperback – Feb 2 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Books; New edition edition (Feb. 2 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552149446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552149440
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,544,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Forced by circumstances to become a small-town cop, the protagonist of former Boston district attorney Landay's inventive, gripping suspense debut finds himself embroiled in a big-city murder investigation. Ben Truman, the young police chief in the Maine town of Versailles (pronounced "Ver-sales"), tells us early on that he gave up his pursuit of a doctorate in history at Boston University to come home and care for his Alzheimer's-stricken mother. What he doesn't reveal-at least right away-is the true story of his mother's death and his father's alcoholic rages. Landay deals out pertinent details with the finesse of a poker player, first describing Ben's discovery of the bloated body of a Boston assistant district attorney in a rental cabin. Is the discovery really accidental? Is the almost immediate arrival on the scene of a retired Boston cop named John Kelly as fortuitous as it seems at first? Can Ben really be as much of a small-town hick (the Boston cops call him "Opie") as he appears to be? Determined to stay on the case, Ben joins a crew of big-city cops and prosecutors (including Kelly's intriguing daughter) in a search through the blighted (fictional) Boston neighborhood of Mission Flats for the answer to the ADA's murder and a 10-year-old mystery. As bits of his personal history surface, Ben occasionally seems in danger of violating one of the rules of crime fiction-that the narrator shouldn't lie to us about his role in the story. But Landay's book is such a rich, harrowing and delightful read that few will complain.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Landay uses the slow-paced, elegiac voice of his narrator to lull the reader into the false notion that this is a straightforward mystery starring a somewhat bumbling investigator; in fact, every assumption the reader makes turns into a landmine, which makes for an excruciatingly suspenseful thriller. Former District Attorney Landay sets his accomplished first novel in two places: backwoods Maine, where a way-too-young police chief encounters his first major homicide, and Boston, where the same police chief tries to navigate the shoals of the Boston police and court system. Chief Truman, the narrator, stumbles upon the body of a Boston D.A. in a lakeside cabin. The Boston PD muscles him out of the case, but Truman, undeterred by the all-but-certain knowledge that the murder belongs to the controlling gang in the toughest Boston neighborhood, putzes around on his own. Truman is aided by a retired Boston cop who teaches him fascinating things about motives, blood-spatter patterns, and staged crime scenes. Landay gives us an original detective creation in the humorous, self-deprecating Truman, and he also delivers an action-packed plot with a skillfully detonated final surprise. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
I finished a great book yesterday, William Landay's debut,
_Mission Flats_. Set largely in a fictional Boston neighborhood,
it nevertheless reminded me a lot of Dennis Lehane's PI books.
Landay is a former DA from Boston, so I guess he has the background
to make things ring true.
The book follows police chief Ben Truman, of Versailles (pronounced
"Ver-Sayles"), Maine, as he becomes involved in the investigation of
the murder of a Boston DA in a local lakefront cabin. Ben had been
a promising graduate student in history when he left school to come
back home and help care for his mother, whose Alzheimer's has been
getting worse. Ben's dad, Claude, is the former police chief and
Ben takes a job with the department to give himself something to do.
Given his family, he is quickly made chief, one of the youngest in
the country, and has a fairly liberal attitude to the dispensation
of law and order. He certainly isn't ready for a homicide investigation
and the other investigators are fairly condescending to him. For some
reason, though, he feels a need to stay involved and, with the help of
a retired Boston police detective, John Kelly, he is tutored in the
workings of a real investigation.
Evidence seems to point to a drug dealer, Harold Braxton, who has been
on the radar screens of detectives in the Mission Flats area for many
years, but who has managed to avoid having any charges stick to him.
About 10 years earlier, Braxton was the main suspect in the shooting death
of a Boston policeman during a drug raid, but a complicated series of
incidents lead to the case being dismissed.
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Format: Hardcover
Ben Truman is a police chief of a small town in Maine. A college graduate, Ben had high hopes of being a history professor but was drawn back to his hometown to care for his mother suffering from Altzheimer's. Now, as police chief, he performs the same tasks his overbearing father did years before. Ben's world is shattered, in a sense, when the body of a murdered man is found in a remote cabin by the lake. The investigation brings in the feds and involves the Boston Police in that the victim was a district attorney in Boston. Ben feels compelled to help in the investigation especially when through a few strange twists, he finds himself one of the suspects. His search takes him into the grittier sections of Boston and, of course, personal danger to himself .
MISSION FLATS is one of the most compelling character rich debut crime novels of the year. William Landay is a former assistant DA who has now turned to writing full time. Lucky us! This is a novel that will be highly praised and should be in line for all the major awards. It is beautifully written with descriptions that evoke the setting flawlessly. Characters such as Ben Truman are rendered with such care that the reader will feel they truly exist. The supporting cast are rendered with equal attention to detail. William Landay has attempted to write a literary mystery and in that he succeeds handily. When talk is of transcending the genre, MISSION FLATS should come to mind. It is a lengthy work but readers will not mind in that no words are wasted in the details. This is easily one of the best novels of the year and one worth seeking out.
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By Nicholas J. Forbes on Dec 10 2003
Format: Hardcover
This novel is as close to crime fiction perfection as you could want. It has the feeling of Dennis Lehane at his very best but is so very unique and special. I finished the last page ten minutes ago and I am haunted and affected by the characters and the story. This is the mark of a genuine literary experience.
The story is wrapped around a murder of a DA but this central plotline is wrapped in the wonderful family tale of Ben Trueman and his father. The sadness and ultimate unwritten tragedy of their story is deeply affecting. As Ben recounted his mothers last moments I felt as close to him as if he were tangible and real.
There is wit, pathos and suspense in solid measures and the various strands are brought together in a satisfying and credible finish. I am a serving police officer and the feel and tone of Bill Landay's observations about police work are masterly and real. As the truth behind the murder is revealed I was shocked at the facts. This is a contemporary masterpiece and I read a lot of crime fiction. Perfection.
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Format: Hardcover
First novels often have to be given some slack as the author learns his or her craft. Wile the overall story can be highly entertaining; one expects weakness in character development, plotting, or in a host of other areas. In this case, that expectation would be totally incorrect. This dark and very well written novel weaves a complex mystery all the way to a shocking end and works on all levels.
Chief Ben Truman runs the very small Police force in Versailles, Maine. He never intended to be in the Police Department let alone following his father's legacy as Police Chief. Things lately haven't been working out as planned. His mother has recently died from complications of Alzheimer's and his Dad, showing signs of his own failing health, has moved in with Ben. Ben is coping with everything the best he can and his life seems to be getting increasingly complicated. Then he finds the body and from the first arrival of the big city cops, loses control of the situation.
The deceased is Robert Danzinger, a powerful District Attorney out of Boston. Among other cases, the deceased was going after Harold Braxton, head of the notorious Mission Posse gang operating out of Mission Felts in Boston. Ben manages to stay involved in the case and the manhunt begins as secrets from twenty years ago are slowly revealed in a hunt for justice.
This is a slow moving dark read that relies mostly on character development to move the story forward. Not only is the character of Ben Truman painstakingly developed, so too are the characters of most of the major as well as minor figures. As each level is built, contradictions begin that begin to cast doubt in the mind of the reader regarding everyone, including Ben.
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