Created by Michael Koryta
It’s tempting to simply rag on author Michael Koryta’s age (or lack of it) when he published his first book, but that would just be too easy.
I mean, really, how dare this twenty year old punk win the 2003 SMP/PWA Contest for Best First P.I. Novel? But Lord knows, a bunch of us already took our shots at this young whippersnapper at the 2004 Bouchercon in Toronto (and a good time was had by all), so after the razzing died down, I figured I better actually read Tonight I Said Goodbye.
And damn, but the kid can write. Okay, it’s not quite great – Koryta has a tendency to overwrite, though he tamped it down better than most beginners, while at other times the pace slackens, but overall the story, about Cleveland gumshoe LINCOLN PERRY and his retired cop partner Joe Pritchard tracking down the missing wife and daughter of a fellow private detective who may (or may not) have committed suicide, is solid and deftly handled. Hell, it kicks ass, tearing right into the guts of some hard emotional truths.
Impulsive, thirty-something Perry is an ex-cop who left the department under a bit of a cloud, but is mostly held in check by the older (and presumably wiser) Pritchard. They run their agency from out of al old bank building, and make an interesting team. Right from that first book, I knew I wanted to see where Koryta was going to take these guys.
Koryta may not be breaking much new ground, but underneath the typical hard-boiled shenanigans (Sex! Violence! Russian gangsters!), there’s a definite heart beating, and a few powerfully wrenching scenes you won’t soon forget (you’ll never look at a melting snowman quite the same way again). Koryta’s confident and respectful handling of the genre’s conventions and traditions, his willingness to dig down and make his characters come alive, not to mention his apparent compassion for them, bodes well for the future. I may be wrong, but it looks like we’ve got a brave new voice in the private eye genre here.
And wouldn’t you know — in each subsequent book in the series (and a growing number of standalones that wander into Stephen King turf and plant a defiant flag there, he’s just gotten better. And better. More assured, more polished, more muscular in his plotting and characterization.
He’s now a New York Times bestselling author, and his books, which include Envy the Night, The Silent Hour and So Cold The River, have won or been nominated for a mountain of awards and honours. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, Michael graduated from Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice. He currently lives in Camden, Maine and Bloomington, Indiana, and he’s also written novels about troubled private eye Marcus Novak and insurance investigator Abby Kaplan which straddle both his detective fiction and his supernatural thriller standalones.
- “The plot is intricately woven…As a protagonist, Perry is completely human, with knowledge, ability and insecurities. The twists in the story are so unexpected that the reader can only scratch his or her head in awe and wonderment.”
— ILoveAMystery.com on The Silent Hour
- “Reading James Crumley and John D. MacDonald set the writing hook in me: I wanted to write mysteries and thrillers. I wanted to be a storyteller.
Now, in Michael Koryta, all these years later, I’ve read the heir apparent to those masters. There is grit and determination in Michael’s writing; there is heart and character; the threat of violence first simmers, then boils over. The pulse quickens. Envy The Night (Koryta’s first standalone) is everything this kind of novel is meant to be. A more fitting title: Envy The Writer. ”
— Ridley Pearson
- Tonight I Said Goodbye (2004) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Sorrow’s Anthem (2006)| Buy this book | Kindle it!
- A Welcome Grave (2007) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Silent Hour (2009) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- “Short Story” (2017, Matchup)
Co-written with Karin Slaughter. Slaughter’s Jeffrey Tolliver joins fellow cops Joe Pritchard & Lincoln Perry to crack a case.
- Tonight I Said Goodbye
The Thrilling Detective Web Site Review by James R. Winter