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Purgatory Chasm (2011)

by Steve Ulfelder(Favorite Author)
3.84 of 5 Votes: 5
0312672926 (ISBN13: 9780312672928)
Minotaur Books
Conway Sax
review 1: Making his worthwhile debut in the "private eye" genre, Steve Ulfelder brings to mind the best of classic Robert B. Parker and, going way back, hard-boiled authors like James M. Cain or Jim Thompson. Ulfelder's novel "Purgatory Chasm", besides having one of the coolest titles I have heard in a while, introduces readers to a name that I believe we may hear more of in the future: Conway Sax. Not your typical private eye. In fact, not a private eye at all. He's a big, surly auto mechanic, former race car driver, and a recovering alcoholic who happens to do "favors" for people, usually the kind that law enforcement officers frown upon. Most of the people he does favors for are also former alcoholics, comrades in sobriety that he has befriended in his weekly AA gathering, a gro... moreup called "The Barnburners". (Don't worry, it's explained in detail...) One of those fellow AA members is a guy named Tander Phigg, whom Conway thinks is a douche, but when Tander asks him to get his vintage Mercedes back from a shady auto shop, Conway agrees to do it. He figures it's an easy in-and-out B&E---steal the car back and return it to its rightful owner---but Conway soon realizes there are stranger things going on. After getting KOed by some Canadian mobsters, Conway wakes up to find Tander hanging from the rafters by a necktie. Police are calling it a suicide, but Conway knows it's not. Feeling like he owes it to the guy, Conway finishes the job he started for Tander. His amateur investigation leads him to, of all places, the New York art scene, Tander's love-child, several hundreds of thousands of missing mob money, a serial killer working underneath his nose, and an awkward reunion with his long-lost father. If anybody needs a drink, it's Conway. Too bad he's sober. "Purgatory Chasm" is great, super-charged, hard-boiled fun, wrapped in shiny chrome.
review 2: It's been a bit of awhile since a new author/series had me glued to the book, turning pages as fast I could, hanging on every word. I can't really say what it is I like so much about it, so I'll just say it's everything--the writing style, a good hook that sucks you right in, plenty of plot twists, an instantly well-developed character with layers that gradually unfold as the story does...it's all good! No, it's all GREAT! Looking forward to the next in this series. less
Reviews (see all)
A cracking little story with some villains you just can't help but hate.
Very good debut and looking forward to the next one
Meh, I couldn't really get into this.
I enjoyed it somewhat.
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