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Envy the Night

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for the year’s best mystery/thriller 

In this first stand-alone novel from the critically acclaimed Edgar® Award-finalist, Michael Koryta fulfills his early promise with a dark and mature novel of a young man trying to escape his past.

It has been seven years since Frank Temple III joined the rest of the world in learning his father’s bloody secret: The U.S. marshal maintained a covert career as a contract killer, a double-life that ended in suicide to avoid prosecution and prison.

The shocking revelation triggered years of anonymous drifting for Frank, time spent running from his legacy and struggling to believe that the father he’d loved so dearly was entirely in the wrong. After all, the victims hadn’t been innocents. And Devin Matteson, the man who’d lured his father into the killing game only to later give him up to the FBI, is probably the darkest of the lot. Those are troubling thoughts, and Frank tries to stay away from them. But when an old family friend calls to say that Matteson is returning to the isolated Wisconsin lake that was once sacred ground for their families, it’s a homecoming Frank knows he can’t allow.

His arrival in town reveals a situation far from the expected, though.

While Matteson is nowhere to be found, his old cabin is indeed occupied—by a strange, beautiful woman and a nervous man with a gun. When a pair of assassins from Miami arrive on their heels, Frank knows Matteson can’t be far behind. And while the wise move would be to call in the police and get out of town fast, that just doesn’t feel right. After all, contract killer or not, Frank’s father was at heart a teacher. And his son excelled at the lessons.


"Contract killer or not, Frank Temple II was at heart a teacher—and his son had excelled at the lessons," Koryta notes, in tones so reasonable that all the horrific violence in this dynamic thriller seems perfectly justified. Following the lesson plan, young Frank heads for the family hunting lodge,on a remote island in a lake in Wisconsin, when he learns Matteson is headed for the same destination. As good as he is at depicting violence, Koryta puts even more muscle into scenes of killers tracking one another in the great outdoors—a talent that doesn't get enough of a workout in the novels featuring his P.I. Lincoln Perry but is demonstrated here with brutal artistry."

—The New York Times

"One of the year's finest crime novels. Envy the Night shows a confidence in storytelling that doesn't follow the predictable, as well as an affinity for shaping authentic characters. Koryta tackles the legacy of violence, the relationships of parents and adult children, and the futility of revenge while delivering an action-packed story."

—South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Revenge drives this superb stand-alone...Koryta's dialogue is as sharp as the knives his characters wield, and his plot twists at the most unexpected moments. This thriller places Koryta solidly in the company of the genre's most powerful voices."

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This collision of murderous forces soon involves an expanding cast of well-rendered characters, a few heartbreaking relationships, and more than a few fresh corpses... the Peckinpahesque climax has the blood, bullets, and surprises coming."


"A great new stand-alone novel. Envy the Night is a story full of family history, with a likable protagonist and a strong sense of place...Koryta's characters are irresistible. Good characters, a plot that unfolds backwards and forwards... and a writing style that keeps you turning pages."

—Charlotte Observer

"Michael Koryta's Envy the Night features another gorgeous rural setting - the lakes surrounding Tomahawk, Wis.—and another tortured protagonist whom readers won't soon forget. Gallows humor leavens this heart-pounding thriller... Take yourself to an island, pull up an Adirondack chair, and scare yourself silly with this one."

—Boston Globe

"...a combination of fine writing, interesting characters and a suspense-filled plot."

—The Oklahoman

"After three novels featuring Cleveland P.I. Lincoln Perry, Koryta really stretches his writing muscles with this standalone set in rural Wisconsin where retribution and revenge loom large. For Frank Temple, especially, the impending explosion of violence will give him a chance to come to terms with the secrets of his father's past as a contract killer and how it's held his own life hostage. And for Koryta, it's a chance to open up his vision, write from several points of view and show the repercussions of past acts upon those with years to reflect or no time at all. After Envy the Night, I wonder if pure genre exercises can satisfy Koryta's writing equations, and if not, that's the best possible thing."

—Sarah Weinman

"Superb writing and storytelling from Michael Koryta...Envy the Night represents his best work to date."

—New York Times bestselling author George Pelecanos

"This diabolical novel, laid out in simple but eloquent prose and pitch-perfect dialogue, heralds a changing of the guard. I have seen the future of 'The Best Mystery Writer in America' and its name is Michael Koryta."

—New York Times bestselling author Ridley Pearson

"One of the best of the best, plain and simple."

—#1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly