Purgatory Chasm: A Mystery

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Macmillan, May 10, 2011 - Fiction - 304 pages
8 Reviews

"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.

Advance Praise for Purgatory Chasm:
"Genuine characters and intense action--a serious crime novel with serious edge." – Patrick Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Breach

"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

"Ulfelder's voice makes the tale as powerful and true as rocketing down the back straight at Martinsville Speedway. He's given us living proof that scars are sometimes the only legacy we can pass down from one generation to the next." -- Louise Ure, Shamus Award winning author of Liar's Anonymous

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Darcia - LibraryThing

Purgatory Chasm starts off with tremendous promise. The writing is smooth, with lots of well written dialogue that moves the story forward while also giving us a great feel for the characters ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - phoenixcomet - LibraryThing

A checkered past and a bad ass attitude, Conway Sax is a man on a mission. A member of the AA group, the Barnburners, Sax believes in vigilante justice when a fellow Barnburner, Tander Phigg is ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
13
Section 3
32
Section 4
42
Section 5
50
Section 6
59
Section 7
68
Section 8
83
Section 16
171
Section 17
180
Section 18
189
Section 19
200
Section 20
215
Section 21
227
Section 22
235
Section 23
242

Section 9
93
Section 10
101
Section 11
109
Section 12
124
Section 13
134
Section 14
147
Section 15
160
Section 24
249
Section 25
260
Section 26
267
Section 27
277
Section 28
282
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Steve Ulfelder is an amateur race driver and co-owner of Flatout Motorsports, a company that builds race 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.

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