Early in the dark, Indianapolis morning, Frank Behr's friend and mentor is murdered with no motive and no trace of evidence left behind. Behr, a quiet, mountainous former cop, thirsts for answers and retaliation. But before he can make headway in the dead-end investigation, an exclusive private firm approaches him with a delicate proposition: two of its detectives have gone missing, and the firm wants Behr to find out what happened to them. Prodded to take the case by his old boss, the Indianapolis chief of police who holds the strings to Frank's possible return to the force, Behr accepts.
The search for the missing detectives takes Behr into the recesses of Indianapolis' underworld, a place rife with brutality and vice and a stark contrast to the city's gentle public image. As Behr calls on old street contacts and his hard-boiled investigative skills, he is led deeper into a twisted society of organized crime and an unknown landscape of "pea-shake" houses, low-rent, transient gambling rings staged in condemned buildings around the city.
Unexpectedly, Behr uncovers a shocking thread connecting the missing detectives to his friend's brutal murder, and, in the process, Behr is forced to confront an ominous, deadly new breed of crime family.
Introduced in City of the Sun, Frank Behr instantly attracted critical attention and a devoted fan base, and Where the Dead Lay places Behr on a broader, edgier stage. This extraordinary crime novel stands with the best of Michael Connelly and Lee Child, featuring a brilliantly drawn, ruthless criminal family whom readers will not soon forget, and showcasing the immense talents of David Levien.
©2009 David Levien; (P)2009 Random House
"Relentless....The story conveys a piercing sense of honesty....The truth of the characters - and the intensity of their pain - is as unbearably real as it gets." (The New York Times Book Review)
"City of the Sun is going to be a finalist for thriller of the year." (Rocky Mountain News)
"One of the toughest, most gut-wrenching, and most believable suspense novels I've ever encountered." (Lincoln Child)
I liked this book and its predecessor .Great characters and a deliberate plot that the writer takes no short cuts with. I hope there is more to come
I don't understand why this book is being ignored by downloaders??? Author David Levien has created an outstanding lead character in Frank Behr. He is a throw-back to the unrepentant bad-@$$ tough guys of the past, but with a modern edge (I love the Brazilian jiu-jitsu angle). Behr is the kind of dude that we all wish really existed and were on our side. Behr is as complex and interesting as my favorite cop/private eyes (Bosch, Robicheaux, & Cole). This book and its predecessor, City of the Sun, are on par with some of the best crime novels of the last few years. Levien's skills aren't quite yet in the same class as Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, and Robert Crais, but he's on the same campus.
Clues, solutions, escapes, come WAY too easily for this PI. (Granted, one of the major "coincidences" is actually explained in the end -- making it a better story than you have given the author credit for all along.) When the character says, "I can't believe the bullets did not hit me," you say: "Yeah, neither can I." That said, the biggest problem I had with this novel was that parts of it were plain boring. (I AM listening to this detective novel for sheer entertainment, after all!) I will download the third one in the series, simply because I am now curious (even though I am a little worried because it is not read by Scott Brick, who actually has done a good job in the first two). The author is ALMOST good. I want to give him another chance.
I have a strong preference for the SPOKEN, as opposed to the written word. Although a poor reader may detract from a book, a truly capable reader adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of a good book.
"Where the Dead Lay" is among the very worst of the 183 books I have downloaded from Audible.com as well as hundreds of others on tape or disk from other sources. The plot is exaggerated to the point where one can no longer "suspend disbelief." Development of the characters is just as poorly executed. At no point does the story approach believability. Nor is there the slightest redemption in the performance of the reader, Scott Brick. Although he appears to be a popular reader of audio books, he uses the same, falling inflection on what seems to be about 90 percent of the sentences, adding to the dismal mood of the book and the characters that people it. I frequently check readers reviews, but this is the first I have contributed. I am doing so in the hope of helping others to avoid an unfortunate experience. With this book, the writing and the reading are astound consistent with one another and throughout, but unfortunately they are consistently bad.
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