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Publisher's Summary

In Shane Scully's most terrifying case to date, two elite SWAT units from the L.A. Sheriff's Department and the ATF appear to be engaged in a deadly midnight war. Officers from both agencies are being sniped at and murdered in vertical coffins. As the violence escalates, the mayor directs the LAPD, the only uninvolved and unbiased law enforcement agency, to investigate. Shane's wife, Alexa, under orders from Chief Tony Filosiani, assigns him to the case.

Almost immediately, Scully is thrust into a nightmare of police intrigue and finds himself with no friends in law enforcement, isolated in a lethal no-man's-land between two warring agencies. In a plot full of twists and thrills, where nothing is as it appears, Shane puts himself and his loved ones in terrible jeopardy before finally discovering the shocking and deadly truth.

Don't miss other titles in the Shane Scully series.
©2004 Stephen J. Cannell; (P)2004 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Adept characterization, sharp dialogue, breakneck plotting, and great entertainment value." (Booklist)
"Scully has ample opportunity to prove how 'Hollywood tough' he is...veteran writer/TV producer Cannell has concocted his special brand of reader candy." (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Thrill To The Last Minute

This is my second download from audible, first being Paranoia by Joseph Finder. The reader reviews helped me pick another winner. Great story with a strong suspenseful ending! The author did a very nice job at slowing disclosing the riddle without exposing the villain until the end. Didn't want to stop listening and once again Scott Brick did a great narration.

I actually picked this audio book based partially on the narrator. Scott did a superb reading with Paranoia by Joseph Finder and did a nice job with Vertical Coffin. If you are remotely interested in SWAT or police investigations you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nancy
  • Palmetto, FL, United States
  • 02-29-04

Great detective story

In the same style as Michael Connerlly, this book shows a detective thinking through and solving a case, along with the emotions and thinking typical of many cops. He also includes information on crime solving designed to educate the reader...a plus.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Carrollton, TX, USA
  • 09-01-04

Interesting Listen

He kept me guessing right up to the last hour. Definitely worth the listen. He does a good job building the characters up and getting you to vest an interest. Good read.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

What a disappointing plot!

Based on reviews, I decided to give Cannell a try. The writing is good, and the plot pulls you in. The primary characters are interesting. The narration is excellent. However, there comes a point where the reason for the villain's problems with gender identity is revealed, after which the story just goes downhill. The plot turns ludicrous and asks the reader to believe ever more incredible developments. Bizarre characters appear out of nowhere, topped off by an anti-hero, a former Vietnam army medic. Toward the end, I felt as if the book had turned into a comic strip, a kind of parody of the genre.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Better Then Expected!

I loved this book! Filled with twists and turns it kept me on my toes trying to pick up the clues before Scully did.....I have become a huge fan of Scott Brick and actually look for books he has narrated.....he is the best! I hope Stephen Cannell is busy on another "Scully" novel....If Scott Brick narrates I'm buying!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dale
  • Morrisville, NC, USA
  • 10-03-05

Very good !

The characters are well developed and the story never gets boring. You won't be disappointed if you like detective stories and suspense.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joel
  • Huntsville, AL, USA
  • 01-08-05

Good solid cop story

Being an retired cop and a former Homicide investigator, the story was one that held my interest and made me want to forget everything else and listen. The ending seemed a bit chopped off, but overall a fantastic listen that I would recomend to all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Never slowed down.

Fast action, suspense and never a dull moment. A lot of different people that all worked together to make a really good story. Shane Scully story never gets old. Stephen J. Cannell never fails.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

NOT up to Stephen J. Cannell's usual quality

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I'm reading the Shane Scully series in sequence so the character and relationship progress is enjoyable. Otherwise, too often I found myself bored and found the story dragging. Not what I'm used to from this acclaimed author.

If you’ve listened to books by Stephen J. Cannell before, how does this one compare?

Weak by comparison.

Which scene was your favorite?

Several of the scenes showing Scully's softer side... his growing affection and relationship with his son and his continued admiration and respect for Alexa.

Do you think Vertical Coffin needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Not sure as it would depend on the storyline.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dan
  • BIRMINGHAM, AL, United States
  • 01-19-13

TV Show.

Would you listen to Vertical Coffin again? Why?

No. It's like watching re-runs of a cop show.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Vertical Coffin?

None really.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Brick is a pro. He does the characters well but I cannot listen to him back to back.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It's like watching a typical TV Cop Show. Interesting, due to Brick, but not memorable.

Any additional comments?

I find it amazing how succesful writers can get so much of the technical details wrong. Cars, guns, etc. Check the facts before you write it!

Why is it that all of the characters have money from somewhere? That's NOT real life.