Envy the Night Hardcover – Aug 5 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Revenge drives this superb stand-alone from Edgar-finalist Koryta (A Welcome Grave). Frank Temple II, a U.S. marshal, commits suicide after a tip leads to the exposure of his secret life as a hit man. Seven years later, Frank II's 24-year-old son, Frank Temple III, learns from an old Vietnam pal of his father's that the man who ratted out Frank II, Devin Matteson, is returning to Wisconsin from Florida. Temple heads to his father's cabin in remote Willow Flowage, Wis., to confront Matteson, who first recruited Frank II into the assassination game. Temple realizes that there's more at stake than his vendetta against Matteson, as he encounters a group of ruthless killers and joins forces with Nora Stafford, the owner of an auto repair shop. Koryta's dialogue is as sharp as the knives his characters wield, and his plot twists at the most unexpected moments. This thriller places Koryta solidly in the company of the genre's most powerful voices. Author tour. (Aug.)
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“Koryta is one of the best of the best, plain and simple.”—Michael Connelly
“With Envy the Night, Koryta earns a seat at the high table of neo-noir crime writers.”—The New York Times
“A heart-pounding thriller.” —Boston Globe
“Koryta’s best work to date.” —George Pelecanos
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'm not going to recount the story line - others have done that. What I am going to tell you is to put this author's name in the list of authors one checks to see if they have produced another novel, because he has a sure sence of what he wants to say and does it in a manner that rewards the reader.
Frank immediately left for the Willow, leaving yet another college without finishing, another attempt at starting his life thwarted by the resurgence of his past. When he was almost at the cabin, he was in a car accident with a man he thought was Matteson. It wasn't, but was a very suspicious person, who insisted on no police involvement, and on paying for the damaged vehicles even though the accident was Frank's fault. The only body shop they could find belonged to Bud Stafford, and was his father's before that. Bud had been in a nursing home for some time, his shop in the hands of his determined daughter, Nora. Nora was barely keeping the shop open, and jumped at the opportunity to repair the two cars, against her better judgments, despite the unusual circumstances.
Frank quickly learned that Devin Matteson was not at the cabin. Instead, a woman and the man involved in the accident were. And a few others have come to town, intent on finding the man Frank was in the accident with, willing to kill anyone who got in their way.
Frank learned Matteson was not there, and the people who were had probably attempted to kill Matteson in Miami and were here hiding. But he learned too late, and he and Nora were now targets, loose ends, as he put it, and in his estimation could not be allowed to live.
Throughout the many twists and turns of the story, Frank battled with himself, and with the memories of his father. He was torn between revenge, making his father proud, and letting go, being better than his father. Ezra Ballard was also torn, not wanting to bring violence to his peaceful existence, an existence he had worked hard to achieve, and a past filled with violence that he had worked even harder to leave behind.
This is the fourth book by author Michael Koryta, and the first that is not part of his Lincoln Perry series. It is, without question, his best effort. Koryta was able to keep up a quick pace, while the character's complexities were explored. As a reader, I felt I knew how Frank and Nora became who they were. Even secondary characters, like Ezra Ballard and Nora's mechanic, Jerry, seemed more than supporting roles. In that regard, Koryta made each character, the situations they found themselves in, and their reactions understandable and believable, despite the decisions not being the right or best thing to do.
Koryta also seemed to master the environment portrayed in the book, describing the area in a way that showed he knew it well, therefore helping me get a good idea of where the story was set, and the challenges presented as a result.
While Koryta's first three books were very good, they had a sense of inexperience to them. Envy the Night does not, and shows the promise of Michael Koryta as an author who is able to tell a complex story with well developed characters as well as any of the established fiction writes of the Twenty-First Century. I look forward to reading his books for years.