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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 12/2021
  • 9781947504301
  • 356 pages
  • $18.00
Richard Norgard
Author
Road Kill
R.J. Norgard, author
Still haunted by the death of his wife, Sid is persuaded to help defend a drug addict accused in the hit-and-run death of a native man. Soon Sid begins to doubt his client's guilt, suspicions that are reinforced when a key witness surfaces whose testimony could blow the case wide open. Sid and his witness suddenly find themselves in the crosshairs of malevolent forces hell-bent on burying the truth. With the lives of his client and his witness hanging in the balance, Sid is determined to make things right, and nothing - not drug dealers, dirty cops, or the bitter Alaska cold - is going to stop him.
Reviews
The second Sidney Reed mystery from Norgard (after Trophy Kill) pits the appealingly complex private investigator Reed against a classic murder mystery and frightening heavies, all set around an unyielding, evocatively described winter in Anchorage, Alaska. Reed, reeling from the loss of his wife, is barely able to get through each day. He's hired to help the defense of Rudy Skinner, facing trial on a charge of murdering an indigenous man with a snowplow. A tip about the identity of the actual killer leaves Reed facing double crosses, meth dealers, wannabe actresses, crooked cops, an ambitious district attorney, plus an array of friends concerned by his ongoing mental health struggles. The climax, involving the cruel Alaska winter, ties surprising twists and turns with a fight for survival.

Despite strong pacing and effective interrogations and courtroom drama, it’s nuanced and complex character work that drives this thriller. Reed is a broken man trying to put himself together, returning to work, starting to date again, even seeing a therapist, though he finds himself unable to let go of the past. He always tries to do the right thing, especially when innocents are involved, no matter the cost. The villains, too, are multilayered characters, like the actual killer and his criminal father, whose individual senses of morality lead to some unexpected conclusions. Alaska’s winter storms raise the stakes throughout, as simply driving on a road becomes a perilous undertaking, much less being outside for extended lengths of time.

Norgard makes the reader care about Reed's journey, and it doesn't hurt that Reed has an insolent wit that he can't seem to turn off, a defense mechanism as he haltingly tries to process his grief. Norgard's attention to detail with regard to both character and setting elevates Road Kill far above a typical hard-boiled detective story, and fans of mysteries with memorable leads will find much to like in its mix of hard-boiled, funny, and haunted.

Takeaway: A tough Alaskan winter raises the stakes in this polished and compelling character-driven mystery.

Great for fans of: Peter James’s Dead Simple, Dana Stabenow.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Connie Willett Everett, Editor, Pudding Magazine

“Prepare yourself for a wild ride in this latest Sidney Reed Mystery. Road Kill grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let go. Norgard brings the north frontier to life with a well-drawn cast of characters including a moose, a Subaru, a sexy journalist, a family of meth dealers, and an array of colorful locals befitting their raw environment. The wise­cracking P.I. is ever charming, and his knack for finding trouble as he wrestles his personal demons continues in this action-packed mystery. A thoroughly entertaining page-turner that leaves you eager for more.”

Kirkus Reviews

"This well-executed sequel with a striking detective demands a third installment."

Patrick Lawrence O’Keeffe, Author, Cold Air Return

“The latest Sidney Reed novel has the reluctant Alaska P.I. once again wandering into insidious doings. This page-turner further demonstrates the author’s ability to tease out a mys­tery reader’s favorite appetites of getting to know fascinating characters while figuring out who dunnit.”

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 12/2021
  • 9781947504301
  • 356 pages
  • $18.00

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