Summary and book reviews of Past Due by William Lashner

Past Due

By William Lashner

Past Due
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2004,
    480 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2005,
    576 pages.

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Book Summary

It means something to be a client. It means he gets my loyalty, whether he deserves it or not. It means he gets my absolute best for the price of an hourly fee. It means in a world where every person has turned against him there is one person who will fight by his side for as long as there is a battle to be fought.
-- Victor Carl

Author of the acclaimed novels Fatal Flaw, Bitter Truth, and Hostile Witness, bestselling writer William Lashner crafts dark, witty, engrossing tales of suspense involving one of the most intriguing characters of modern popular fiction: Victor Carl.

A defense attorney who lives his life in shades of gray, Victor Carl fights all the right fights for all the wrong reasons. With a failing legal practice, a dead-end love life, a pile of unpaid traffic tickets, and a talent for mixing it up in tough working-class bars and sparring with obstinate cops, Victor skates on the razor's edge of legal ethics in search of the easy buck. But the one absolute in Victor's life is loyalty, especially to a client -- even if he happens to be dead. Like Joey Cheaps, a no-account who takes a knife to the throat down on the waterfront, but not before he shares with his lawyer his part in a terrible crime.

With his client murdered, Victor must search for a killer. But solving the crime means investigating the darkest spot in Joey Cheaps's misspent youth, sending Victor on a twisting journey that leads to a missing suitcase stuffed with money, photographs of a mysterious naked woman, and a Supreme Court justice with a secret to hide. And most dangerous of all, Victor steps into the crosshairs of a vengeful enemy with a past full of pain and a taste for blood.

As thrilling as it is darkly evocative, Past Due is a superb tale of crime and justice that takes the intrepid Victor Carl into brilliant new territory and confirms William Lashner's place among the top suspense writers of our time.

Chapter 1

There is something perversely cheerful about a crime scene in the middle of the night, the pulsating red and blue lights, the great beams of white, the strobes of the photographers' flashes. Festively festooned with yellow tape, a crime scene at night is a place cars drive slowly by, as if before an overdone Christmas display with bowing reindeers and whirling Santas. In the uniformed workers busily going about their business, in the helicopters spinning madly overhead, in the television vans with their jaunty microwave disks, in the reporters giving their live reports, in the excited onlookers excitedly looking on, in all of it lies the thrilling sense of relief that the arbitrary finger of desolation has squashed flat this night a total stranger.

Unless the corpse within the tape is not a total stranger. Then, suddenly, the crime scene at night is not so cheery.

I didn't yet know why I had been summoned to the crime scene at Pier 84 on Philadelphia&#...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson

For all its convolutions, Past Due is smart and funny and reads beautifully. Its characters are colorful and its surprises many … on the evidence of Past Due, I would say that Lashner is as impressive as anyone writing legal thrillers today, and his well-reviewed earlier novels -- Hostile Witness, Bitter Truth and Fatal Flaw -- are available in paperback for those in search of additional Victor Carl adventures.

Kirkus Reviews

Victor, a wisecracking lawyer (Fatal Flaw, 2003, etc.) trapped in a tale otherwise devoid of legal intrigue or wit, will have to rely on a little help from a lot of friends to wind up the tangled, forgettable skein. Conscientious, lumbering, prosy, and as voluminous as one of those fits-all ponchos that really fits nobody but the biggest dogs in the rain.

Library Journal - Craig Shufelt

The characters have depth, Carl is easy to root for, and the writing is above standard thriller fare.

Publishers Weekly

Lashner's latest, his fourth and longest, is another big and beautifully written saga, narrated by righteous, melancholy Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl......Lashner's writing--or is it Victor's character?-gains depth and richness with every installment.

Booklist - Wes Lukowsky

Starred Review. This is an extremely good crime novel, and it vaults Lashner into the upper reaches of the hardboiled universe, along with Pelecanos, Lehane, and a very few others.

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