Hey. I love this book. No, like, you don't even know. This is a crime novel like you've never read. Steve Ulfelder's debut, PURGATORY CHASM (coming out May 10th), is a gritty must-read. What I love most about it is that every character feels so real.
Take Conway Sax, for instance, a no-nonsense auto mechanic who always comes to the aid of his Alcoholics Anonymous friends when they have a...problem. He's tough, loyal, witty, street smart, and good with a hammer, but he can also be tender and a good judge of character, showing kindness and mercy where they're due. He's definitely not just an ordinary hard-boiled detective--he's not even really a professional detective, but just a fixer for his friends. Sigh. I wish I could hang out with Conway in real life :(
I also love how Conway isn't condescending at all. In crime fiction, I feel like the protagonist usually acts like he's better than everyone else, amirite? Like, the other protagonists I've seen will stereotype the other characters he meets, but in PURGATORY CHASM, Conway sees everyone with all their complexities. He understands that so-and-so isn't "just" anything. And since he sees people that way, the reader can't help but empathize with the various characters too.
Anyway, now I'm filled with nostalgia. The characters are all alive in my head and I'm sad that I'm done reading :( WHEN IS THE NEXT CONWAY SAX COMING OUT???
And man, I'm just looking at other reviews for PURGATORY CHASM, and turns out my favorite thriller authors, Patrick Lee and Michael Koryta, loved it too:
“Purgatory Chasm grabs you at the gate and doesn’t let go, careening through a top-notch whodunit to an ending you don’t see coming. A debut this good makes you wonder what Ulfelder’s holding back for the next race.” –Sophie Littlefield, Edgar Award-nominated author of A Bad Day for Sorry
"Holds a hot, ominous idle just until Ulfelder engages gears and hits the gas, pinning you back against the seat, hopeless to leave before the end of the ride. One of those rare debuts that leaves you immediately eager to see what is next." --Michael Koryta, award-winning author of The Silent Hour and The Cypress House