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A Welcome Grave

Sometime after midnight, on a moonless October night turned harsh by a fine, windswept rain, one of the men I liked least in the world was murdered in a field near Bedford, just south of the city….

So begins A WELCOME GRAVE, the third novel by award-winning mystery writer Michael Koryta, featuring private investigator Lincoln Perry. Once a rising star on the Cleveland police force, Perry ended his career when he left one of the city’s prominent attorneys, Alex Jefferson, bleeding in the parking lot of his country club—retribution for his affair with Perry’s fiancee.

Now Jefferson is dead, the victim of a brutal murder, and his widow has called upon Perry for a favor he knows he shouldn’t accept but can’t turn down: to find Jefferson’s estranged son, partial beneficiary of the dead man’s fortune. The case is simple enough, a routine “locate,” and there’s plenty of money for the work. The encounter should be simple, too, a brief exchange of information and maybe an empty condolence before Perry gets back into his truck and returns home. Instead, he’s loaded into a police car and taken to a rural jail while Jefferson’s son is zipped into a body bag.

Perry soon learns that Jefferson’s millions are the target of a thirst for revenge that hasn’t been satisfied by blood. As a pair of deadly assailants push deep into the investigator’s life, they bring with them police from two states who are determined to see Perry in jail.

A Welcome Grave is the third book featuring investigator Lincoln Perry.

Praise

"Edgar-finalist Koryta stakes a claim as one of today's pre-eminent crafters of contemporary hard-boiled mysteries with his third Lincoln Perry whodunit, which finds the cops trying to pin murder charges on the Cleveland PI. Formerly a detective with the Cleveland PD, Perry was forced out of the department when he assaulted a rich lawyer, Alex Jefferson, who had married Perry's still beloved ex, Karen. When Jefferson's brutalized corpse is discovered in a field, suspicion soon focuses on Perry, and the gumshoe only makes more trouble for himself by accepting Karen's commission to find the dead man's estranged son, Matt, who has inherited millions from his father. But no sooner does Perry locate Matt in Indiana than the unwitting heir commits suicide in Perry's presence, another death the authorities find suspicious. Despite Koryta's youth (his 2004 debut, Tonight I Said Goodbye was published when he was 21), his haunting writing and logical, sophisticated plotting rival that of established stalwarts like Loren Estleman."

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sentence for polished sentence, no one in the genre writes better."

—Kirkus Review

"In what is the best entry yet in Koryta's "Lincoln Perry" private eye series (after Sorrow's Anthem), Perry becomes a person of interest when Alex Jefferson, the man he holds responsible for stealing his fiancee and costing him his job, ends up the victim of a particularly heinous murder. Things get even more complicated when the ex-fiancee/widow hires Perry to find the victim's estranged son, Matt, who stands to inherit several million dollars. But timing is everything, and Matt commits suicide with Perry as the only witness, which creates another suspicious death. Meanwhile, Perry is wondering whether his partner, recovering from a gunshot wound, will ever return to work and dealing with relationship issues with his friend Amy. This is a compelling novel with well-developed characters, fast pacing, and intricate plotting. The young Koryta, who won the SMP/PWA Prize for Best First PI Novel (for Tonight I Said Goodbye) at age 21, has proven that was no fluke; A Welcome Grave showcases his accomplished writing skills. Highly recommended for all mystery and crime fiction collections."

—Library Journal (starred review)

"(Koryta's) lean prose would make any English department proud...(a) top-notch thriller."

—Booklist

"The story is graced by Koryta's humor and style..."

—Cleveland Plain-Dealer

"A Welcome Grave...is proof that after only three novels it is possible to become a 'must read' in crime fiction...one of the best P.I. against the world books I've read in a long, long time. Koryta's dialogue remains vivid and his characters sharp as a diamond drill bit."

—Crimespree Magazine

"In his third efficiently plotted mystery, Koryta lands most of his punches..."

—Entertainment Weekly

"Koryta's story-telling is enhanced by a fluid prose style..."

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Stylish prose...well observed..."

—The New York Times

"A Welcome Grave is much more than a well-written and suspenseful mystery. It is a fictional snapshot depicting how law enforcement and legal machines can be manipulated to favor the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and powerless—and the innocent. Michael Koryta has crafted an exciting novel with carefully rendered characters, even secondary ones, who will remain with the reader long after turning the last page."

—Bookreporter.com

"For a while now Michael Koryta has been called one of the rising young talents in crime fiction. I say enough of that. A Welcome Grave proves the promise. Koryta is one of the best of the best, plain and simple. With stories like this, his Lincoln Perry is going to be around for a long, long time."

—Michael Connelly, author of The Overlook and the #1-bestselling Harry Bosch series

"With the publication of A Welcome Grave, it's time to stop referring to Michael Koryta as a boy wonder and just focus on the sheer wonder of his storytelling. Koryta knows how to put his characters—and his readers—into an ever-tightening vise of twists, turns and conspiracies, but it's his empathy that makes his work stand out. This is a nuanced, mature novel that proves both the depth of Koryta's talent and the vitality of the PI genre."

—Laura Lippman, Edgar-Award winner and author of No Good Deeds

"In the last few years new writing talent has entered all sub genres of crime fiction. One of the names at the top of the list is Michael Koryta. He is a breath of fresh air, his writing clear and concise, his observations on the darkness of the human condition show how the PI novel is one of the finest forms in all of fiction writing. His plotting is excellent and his characters ring true as real people. In fact his first three books are as fine as any recent body of work. Mr. Koryta is on his way to being a master of the PI novel, sacred ground indeed."

—Richard Katz, Mystery One Bookstore

"Michael Koryta's third entry in his incredibly strong Lincoln Perry P.I. series is a worthy follow up to the first two. Like many of the best authors, Koryta manages to slightly change up his formula with each book - in this installment, his older and more experienced partner, Joe, is out of commission and he's on his own. The husband of his ex-girlfriend Karen has been brutally murdered and she asks him to find her stepson to let him know about his father's death. Lincoln finds the son in time to have a ring side seat at his suicide, but when he gets back home, it seems the cops have him in their sights as the killer of Karen's husband. Turning eventually to a scary Russian named Thor for help, the action sequences in this book really can't be beat. Who knew the streets of Cleveland could be so mean, or so evocatively portrayed? This talented author is terrific at character development, narrative, setting and this seems like a series destined for a very long, and classic, run."

—Killer Books, The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association

"The appeal of Koryta's addictively readable narrative comes from his remarkably realistic portrayal of not only individuals but circumstances as well. There are no stereotypical characters, no predictable plot lines; like life, nothing is pure black or white but varying shades of gray. Readers who enjoy authors like Steve Hamilton, Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane should add Michael Koryta to their reading lists."

—The Chicago Tribune

"This is the book that will put Koryta on everyone's 'must read' list...The action is relentless, but interspersed is the blossoming relationship between Perry and his friend Amy. It's been a chaste and happy friendship until now. Koryta is one terrific writer who actually is a private investigator. His characters have depth, and the dialogue is often witty and funny. More than that, however, there's a wisdom that supports the words, and an outlook that mature is uncommon in someone of Koryta's youth. If this is what he can do at age 24, I hope I'm still around when he's 40. Don't miss this one."

—The Kingston Observer

"The story is graced by Koryta's humor and style"

—Cleveland Plain-Dealer

"If you haven't already discovered Michael Koryta, author of Sorrow's Anthem and Tonight I Said Goodbye, now's the time. A Welcome Grave is his best book...Koryta delivers this tale with a sure hand. He never lets up on the pace, but he doesn't let the action get out of control, either. Right to the end, he keeps you with him."

—Toronto Globe and Mail

"The Rust Belt never looked so scary...a simple job turns into a nightmare chess game in which his every move is blocked. Pitted against a mysterious series of opponents—as soon as he identifies one antagonist, another shadowy figure looms—Perry must rely on his partner and underworld connections to save an innocent woman."

—Rocky Mountain News