A Welcome Grave Hardcover – Jun 26 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Edgar-finalist Koryta stakes a claim as one of today's pre-eminent crafters of contemporary hard-boiled mysteries with his third Lincoln Perry whodunit (after 2006's Sorrow's Anthem), which finds the cops trying to pin murder charges on the Cleveland PI. Formerly a detective with the Cleveland PD, Perry was forced out of the department when he assaulted a rich lawyer, Alex Jefferson, who had married Perry's still beloved ex, Karen. When Jefferson's brutalized corpse is discovered in a field, suspicion soon focuses on Perry, and the gumshoe only makes more trouble for himself by accepting Karen's commission to find the dead man's estranged son, Matt, who has inherited millions from his father. But no sooner does Perry locate Matt in Indiana than the unwitting heir commits suicide in Perry's presence, another death the authorities find suspicious. Despite Koryta's youth (his 2004 debut, Tonight I Said Goodbye was published when he was 21), his haunting writing and logical, sophisticated plotting rival that of established stalwarts like Loren Estleman. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Twenty-three-year-old Koryta was nominated for a 2005 Edgar for his first Lincoln Perry novel Tonight I Said Goodbye (2004). Though Koryta was a criminal-justice major in college, his lean prose would do any English department proud. In this third installment in the series, Perry, a Cleveland cop-turned-PI, faces his most personal case: the brutal slaying of Alex Jefferson, a lawyer who married Karen, Perry's one-time fiancee. Perry's grudge against Jefferson is no secret; he once assaulted the attorney and lost his police badge as a result. In the wake of Jefferson's murder, Karen hires Perry to find the victim's long-estranged son. Perry soon finds himself the chief suspect in Jefferson's murder, framed by a pair of nefarious souls with both motive and means. Perry's gruff but shrewd partner, Joe (also a former cop), proves instrumental in the investigation. But since taking a bullet to the shoulder, he is not so sure he wants to return to his job full-time. Koryta's villains occasionally border on caricature, but that does little to distract from this otherwise top-notch thriller. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When the winner of the Kentucky Derby goes on to the Preakness and wins out over all the others but by a larger margin, and then goes to the Belmont and repeats it but by an even larger margin, the world knows it has a champion.
Koryta is young and he is a champion. Each of his works is just, well, better than the one before and what is amazing is that everyone of them reflects superb story telling and writing.
I, for one, am thrilled that Michael Koryta is so very young. He's going to be with us for a long, long time and that is great news for readers of this genre.
I look forward to next year's gift and I am especially anxious to follow the development in Lincoln Perry's personal life with Amy. I admit that I would like to see something that ties in her professional job with a Perry problem while, at the same time, allowing for the evolution of their relationship.
Tough assignment there? Not for Michael Koryta.
Lincoln's grudge as the Detectives see it, would go back a few years ago when Lincoln was engaged to Karen who ended up working in Alex Jefferson's law firm. The boss started noticing her and gradually his efforts at seduction paid off. Lincoln found out they were sleeping together and after consuming a twelve pack of beer, went to Jefferson's country club and beat the living tar out of him. Lincoln left the man alive and was later stopped for drunk driving and eventually charged with assault. Jefferson recovered and married Karen and everyone went on with their lives. Despite keeping mementos from their relationship in a small box, Lincoln doesn't think about what happened much anymore.
That is until now when a few days later Karen calls wanting his help. While sitting in a leather chair in her mansion, Karen tells him that she wants to find Alex's son. The son, Matthew Jefferson, is due to inherit eight million dollars and no one knows where he is. Karen says she wants someone she can trust to find him and tell Matthew what has happened and for that, she is willing to pay Lincoln one percent or eighty thousand dollars. The amount is far in excess what should be paid which does bother Lincoln.
Still eight thousand dollars for a couple of days work would come in very handy right now. Cases haven't been coming in lately. The business is barely afloat and then there is the whole deal with Joe's medical expenses and rehabilitation after he was shot. Guilt is a powerful motivator and Lincoln feels plenty of it so he agrees.
Something that he will soon regret in a case that quickly becomes personal with his very life at stake. Author Michael Kortya once again pulls readers deep into the cynical world of Lincoln Perry in an intense mystery. Part hardboiled and part noir, the read is compelling and intense as it dwells in the shady land in between where Lincoln is at the brink.
While the novel continues character development especially in regards to Lincoln and seems to foreshadow a massive change in his relationship with Joe, it also works heavily with various items from previous novels. As such it is not only hard to discuss the book in great detail, it also strongly behooves those interested in reading the book to start from the beginning with "Tonight I Said Goodbye." In doing so, readers will be introduced to a majority of the characters in Lincoln's world as well as to plot threads that are dealt with in this intense novel by the Edgar nominated author.
Kevin R. Tipple (copyright) 2007
I dislike mystery novels that use the cliched "Detective in Peril" plot line. First, such plots are too hard to believe. Real-life criminals almost never pursue the detectives that are on their trails, play cat-and-mouse with them, torment them, or threaten to rape, murder or kidnap their spouses, partners, friends or lovers. Second, these excessively dramatic plots tend to overshadow all of the elements I mentioned above as things I like about detective fiction. It's hard to make cynical wisecracks when you're in danger of losing everything you hold dear. Lazy American mystery writers (among whom we must now number Mr. Koryta) love these plots, because they provide an easy way to raise the stakes of the investigation, crank up the suspense level, and excuse a healthy dose of satisfying revenge-violence. I hate them, because they strain credulity and suck most of the fun out of the novel.
My main beef with A Welcome Grave is that it's just too unpleasant. While we don't expect fictional detectives to lead lives of careless merriment, neither do we expect them to undergo the trials of Job. In this book, Lincoln Perry's plate is piled high with dirt sandwiches. Two criminals outwit and torment him at every turn. He has to worry about both the physical and psychological well-being of all three of the people he cares about most--his partner, his best friend, and his first great love. Every one of his personal relationships is strained. He is constantly reminded of his greatest mistakes, and is repeatedly thrown together with the woman who broke his heart. Both of his current jobs are threatened. He is pursued by hostile cops from two states who suspect him of multiple crimes that could put him away for life. The Cleveland setting is none too glamorous, either.
When relief from (almost) all of these problems finally comes near the end of the novel, it isn't because of Perry's clever detective work or any innate virtue on his part. Rather, his problems are solved by the timely intervention of two outsiders who don't have any credible motive for helping him out, Deus ex machina style.
I give the book two stars because I admire Mr. Koryta's writing style and character development. This was not, however, an enjoyable read. Unless your taste in detective fiction runs to the unremittingly grim, as is apparently the case with all the five-star reviewers here, you may wish to give this one a pass, or skip to the next installment in the series.
PI Lincoln Perry's partner and mentor, Joe Pritchard, is recuperating from being shot during their last case. Lincoln is contacted by his ex-fiancée, Karen, and asked to find her murdered husband's son to notify him of his father's death and that he will inherit millions. He finds the son but, before Lincoln can explain why he's there, the son commits suicide in front of him and Lincoln is suspected of murder both of the son and the husband. While he is trying to prove his innocence, the killers are out to kill him.
Boy, can this guy write. I loved his first two books and he only gets better with each one. The book is noir, but human. Lincoln is maturing, both as an investigator and a character. In this book, Lincoln confronts past betrayal while trying to move on. He also has to deal with Joe getting older and uncertain whether he'll continue with the agency. He creates a strong sense of place, and natural dialogue. There is plenty of action that is balanced by introspection and humor, but neither slow down the story and the humor doesn't become glib. This is a story where the sins of the past bear rotten fruit in the present. It builds upon itself; no predictable ending here. Koryta really knows how to build suspense, but also convey emotion. Koryta is still fairly new and is very young in his 20s, but it doesn't show in his writing and I'm looking forward to many more years of great books. Highly recommended.