Twin Cities gumshoe Holland Taylor is the first to be called in for interrogation when a pivotal figure from his past is found murdered – a man he once threatened in front of a slew of witnesses. Reluctantly taking on the case, Taylor follows a trail that leads to the headquarters of gubernatorial candidate Carol Catherine (C.C.) Monroe. Beautiful and ambitious, C.C. has risen swiftly, helped by the apparent hit-and-run death of her opponent in a congressional race. Now she stands to become Minnesota’s first woman governor.
But C.C. has a secret. A former lover with a compromising videotape is out to blackmail her. When C.C. hires Taylor to retrieve the tape, he finds a corpse three days dead in a thoroughly ransacked apartment.
As Taylor’s investigations leads him deeper into the tangled web of urban politics, he finds a curious and furtive vulnerability in the candidate beneath her assured, charismatic surface. And when a third murder hits Taylor where it hurts, he becomes committed to a violent course of action that leads him toward an unexpected and decisive confrontation.
“R.C. Bray delivers a perfect raspy-voiced private eye who is dragged into a murder case that the cops really want him to solve since it’s a political flytrap.”
“We’re perhaps off the standard private eye track with Housewright’s neat and twisty first novel, and it’s a step in a refreshing direction… The complex plot machinations are reminiscent of Ross Thomas in their sophistication, intelligence and guile… this is a strong, satisfying first novel; it’s quick-pace and no-nonsense protagonist moves us along smartly.
–The Drood Review of Mystery
“An intriguing, darkly pessimistic take on American politics and media.”
“As long as authors like David Housewright build first novels as good as Edgar-winner Penance, readers will come.”
—The Armchair Detective
A reformed newspaper reporter and ad man, Housewright’s book “Penance” (Foul Play Press) earned the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated for a Shamus in the same category by the Private Eye Writers of America. “Practice to Deceive” won the 1998 Minnesota Book Award – it is currently being developed as a feature film – and “Jelly’s Gold” won the same prize in 2010. (His novels “Tin City” and “The Taking of Libbie, SD” were nominated, but did not win.) Housewright’s 15th novel – “The Last Kind Word” – will be published in June 2013 (St. Martin’s Minotaur).