Purgatory Chasm: Book summary and reviews of Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder

Purgatory Chasm

A Mystery

by Steve Ulfelder

Purgatory Chasm
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  • Published in USA  May 2011
    304 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

"Tander Phigg was an asshole, but he was also a Barnburner. Barnburners saved my life. I help them when I can. No exceptions."

The job seems simple. Conway Sax, a no-nonsense auto mechanic with a knack for solving difficult problems, has never liked obnoxious blowhard Tander Phigg. But a promise is a promise. Tander's a Barnburner, a member of the unique Alcoholics Anonymous group that rescued Conway, and when a Barnburner has a problem, Conway takes care of it.  Besides, all Tander wants is to get back his baby, a vintage Mercedes that's been in a shady auto shop far too long.

But Conway soon discovers there's much more to the problem than Tander first let on – especially when Tander turns up dead. Conway was the last person seen with the victim, and on top of that, he has a record, making him the cops' top suspect. He must catch the killer to clear himself, but beyond that, he's a man who honors his promises, even when the guy he made them to is dead.

In the tradition of Robert B. Parker and Dennis Lehane, Steve Ulfelder's crackling debut mystery features a gritty, razor-sharp new voice in crime fiction. Conway Sax isn't a hired gun or a wise-cracking urbanite. He's just a mechanic trying to make his way, a blue-collar guy whose ideas about family and loyalty are as deeply held as they are strong. He'll break your heart if you're not careful.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Ulfelder couples precise, evocative prose with an original private investigator in his compelling hard-boiled debut…. Ulfelder smoothly navigates the many plot twists, and effortlessly introduces wrinkles in his protagonist's backstory that enhance the character. Fans of Michael Koryta's PI crime novels will find a lot to like." - Publishers Weekly

"Conway is one of those tough but tender, emotionally damaged protagonists that calls out to certain mystery readers.... Ulfelder's first novel gets a thumbs up." - Booklist

"Ulfelder's debut grabs you from its wryly hilarious opening line and keeps going full throttle till the finale. His characters are deep and realistically rendered – sometimes painfully so – and the broken family dynamics are right on the money... Can't wait for book two!" - RT Book Reviews

"Fathers and Sons, American style…. The protagonist is… strong, engaging and fully realized… A promising debut." - Kirkus Reviews

"Genuine characters and intense action - a serious crime novel with serious edge." - Patrick Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Breach

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Steve Ulfelder is an amateur race car driver and co-owner of Flatout Motorsports, a company that builds cars. He was a business and technology journalist for 20 years. In addition to trade and automotive magazines, he wrote for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many others. Purgatory Chasm is his first novel. Visit Steve online at www.ulfelder.com.

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