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Two nuns murdered. Two elderly, wonderful women brutally stabbed to death outside their ghetto mission as they went into the streets to gather the addicts and human waste for a night’s rest. Motive? None. If scum are willing to come out of the shadows just to kill, they get paid in little more than blood. In this neighborhood, blood is gold.

Private detective Richard Dean Buckner aids his best friend and former homicide partner Graham Clevenger in working the case. The local priest sees Buckner’s handiwork—and rage—firsthand and hires him with the intention of hopefully saving the killer from the worst of the bare knuckle detective’s rampage.

Buckner develops a lead and hunts the suspect down, but as Clevenger develops a second, less likely and more earth-shattering suspect of his own, friend is pitted against friend as they race to prove who really did it. All the while Buckner is trying to ignore a similar case from his past where he allowed his pride to railroad the suspect into an early grave. Fearing Clevenger is about to do the same thing, Buckner realizes just how bleak his mistake was.

To hunt a man who slaughtered two nuns, Buckner needs to use a junkyard dog as a landing cushion, make a victim remember the worst night of her life and undo years of therapy, smoke PCP and use a barnyard blow-up doll to strangle a man. So be it. Just another day.

The Big Thrill recently caught up to author Ryan Sayles to discuss his latest thriller, ALBATROSS:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

A few hours of thrills. I hope they don’t see the end coming until it’s right there. I want the red herrings to be satisfying; I want the one-liners to be funny; the bad guys to be hated (or even better, felt sorry for); I want a cheering section for RDB and I’d like for the readers to learn just a bit about human worth.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I tried to show (but not preach about) the worth of the human being, which I think is sorely missing in the genre. I love hardboiled and noir, but it seems the artists and audiences alike think that good examples of genre can only be the bleakest things ever. I want to be entertained, thrilled and challenged without being made to feel like I have nothing to live for.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I was at first concerned how I would incorporate some of the religious themes into the book without “ruining” the feel of the series. I think I did okay.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

I’ve heard from a few people now that the priest character in here, Father Sisti, would do well in a standalone book.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Chuck Palahniuk’s early stuff
Anything by Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton and James Rollins
Contortionist’s Handbook by Craig Clevenger
Wiseblood by Flattery O’Connor


Ryan Sayles is the Derringer-nominated author of the Richard Dean Buckner hard-boiled PI series, The Subtle Art of Brutality, Warpath and ALBATROSS, as well as the standalone novels Goldfinches and the forthcoming Together They Were Crimson. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of venues in both print and digital media. He has been in numerous anthologies including the Anthony Award-nominated collections Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen and Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns.

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