Mission Flats Paperback – Feb 2 2004
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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.
*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.
Top Customer Reviews
_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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This thriller is a gut-wrenching and twist-filled journey. Starting with the discovery of a murdered DA in a cabin beside a Maine lake, we follow Ben Truman, the police chief of... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Rodge
I didn't find this to be a bad book its not as good as Defending Jacob which is amazing but still this had a very surprising ending for me it kept one guessing right to the endPublished on Jan. 6 2014 by Shirley Misener
But I liked Defending Jacob better. The resolution at the end is a bit sudden. I had an idea of who was the bad guy.Published on March 25 2013 by Francine Deschenes
Although two infamous Boston search warrant cases fuel the plot(as also "The Cinderella Affidavit"), it is the family scenes that carry real power. Read morePublished on June 7 2004 by John Bowes
From the other Amazon reviews I expected a better novel. This one toys with the reader. The story is a series of well-written vignettes, but the package as a whole doesn't make... Read morePublished on March 1 2004
This is the only audio book that I've listened to twice, but it was so good the first time that I couldn't resist. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by Chris Stout
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... Read morePublished on Dec 8 2003 by Kevin Tipple
Small-town police chief Ben Truman discovers the body of a Boston prosecutor in a deserted cabin. Ben teams up with Boston police to investigate the murder. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2003 by SDRTX