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Sorrow’s Anthem

In the beginning, it was just about the money. Then things got personal.This is the story that Ed Gradduk tells his private investigator Lincoln Perry when the two are reunited for the first time in years. They were close once, best friends who roamed the same streets and shared the same laughter and pain until the day when Perry made a decision that brought an abrupt end to the friendship. Now Ed is on the run, hiding from the police who are looking to arrest him for arson and murder. When Perry succeeds in catching up with Gradduk in one of their old neighborhood haunts, he finds him full of drunken memories and muddled thoughts.

Then Gradduk is killed in a brutal confrontation with the Cleveland police, and Perry can’t walk away from the situation until he understands the forces that brought his old friend down. With the grudging assistance of his partner, Joe Pritchard, Perry begins an investigation that takes him from blue-collar bars to the offices of city officials. Perry and Pritchard soon realize that whatever Gradduk became involved with went well beyond a personal grudge. Also clear is that someone wants to see that the secrets Gradduk came close to uncovering stay buried—at any cost.

Sorrow’s Anthem is the second book featuring investigator Lincoln Perry.


"Koryta achieves just the right balance, letting his plot (and the hot-headed Lincoln's slow and dangerous slide into obsession) unfold slowly, but with a sense of tragic inevitability, allowing readers to determine for themselves what's driving the characters, instead of hitting them over the head with it...I knew, from reading Tonight I Said Goodbye, that Koryta was capable of crafting powerful scenes that reverberate long after the final page has been read (I still remember the melting snowman); but nothing prepared me for the cool assurance he brings to bear in this new story. Not only is the plot of Sorrow's Anthem snappier and more engrossing, and the characters and their motives more fully developed, but the dialogue's tighter and the details sharper. Even better: This time out, the author has something to say. I'm almost afraid to see how good his third one will be."

—January Magazine

"Cleveland private investigator and former police officer Lincoln Perry has always been passionate about his work. But professional devotion becomes obsession when his childhood friend, Ed Gradduk, is accused of killing the director of a local urban renewal project, then setting fire to the house where her body was found. Perry, who is still plagued by guilt for once arresting Gradduk on a drug charge, is determined to get to the truth. But the suspect is murdered before Perry can gather clue one. With the help of his partner, retired cop Joe Pritchard, Perry combs his old neighborhood for answers and encounters a host of nefarious characters. Inspired by Hammett and Chandler, the 22-year-old Koryta (Tonight I Said Goodbye, 2004) displays the maturity of a writer with several novels under his belt, and his plot percolates with crisp dialogue that might impress Chandler himself."

—Booklist, starred review

"Koryta's impressive second hardboiled mystery is a worthy successor to his debut, Tonight I Said Goodbye (2004), an Edgar and Shamus finalist...The 22-year-old author, who works for a PI and for an Indiana newspaper, displays credible insider knowledge of those professions as well as a gift for creating both sympathetic characters and a fast-moving, twisty plot."

—Publishers Weekly

"Koryta's latest is, without a doubt, a work of rare profundity. The multi-layered and labyrinthine plot is worthy of Raymond Chandler or (more aptly, perhaps) Ross MacDonald. And that's more than mere hyperbole; Koryta is that good. Sorrow's Anthem is ultimately more of a character study than it is a crime novel or, rather, it's a novel whose crime motif functions as the vehicle for an in-depth study of character and motivation. A story about loyalty and about grace, it's also a novel about the law of karma; of how one action creates ripples which spread and precipitate, in turn, further actions and how the individuals who get caught in the wake are left to deal with the results (positive and negative) of those actions. Sorrow's Anthem is so good it'll bring tears to your eyes. And it's good on just about every level; as a crime novel, as a hardboiled mystery, and as a mainstream exploration of choices, consequences and of individual responsibility. In the end, and as far "anthems" go, this one never misses a beat."

—Mystery News

"Sometimes a book grabs you and stays in your memory long after the rest of the in-box's contents have been flushed away by new arrivals. Michael Koryta's second mystery about Cleveland private eye Lincoln Perry has this kind of hold on me...Dashiell Hammett of Red Harvest would appreciate the tangle of high-level political and police corruption of Sorrow's Anthem, but anyone who mourns for lost friendships will add a more visceral reaction."

—The Chicago Tribune

"Perry is an appealing fellow, and Koryta is a straightforward storyteller, but the real pleasure here is touring the back streets of C-Town—particularly Perry's boyhood neighborhood, slowly being populated by Hispanics but still home to a diehard, dying "bunch of Poles and Czechs who worked hard and drank harder." Nominated for an Edgar Award for best first novel at the age of 21, Koryta is now 22, but Sorrow's Anthem is no sophomore slump."

—The Washington Post

"A riveting story...Sorrow's Anthem is a great follow-up to Koryta's first novel, proving that he has a lot to offer his readers in terms of engaging plot lines, intriguing characters and edge-of-your-seat endings."

—The Indianapolis Star

"Koryta...receives high marks for a well-constructed plot and his particular talent at depicting action-packed scenes."

—The Halifax Chronicle-Herald

"Nicely told, with the requisite genre beatings and gunplay reserved for the end and the equally requisite angst, this time over past misdeeds, front and center."

—Kirkus Reviews

"This is a novel about the enduring friendship between working class white men who grew up together with a strong sense of obligation to each other and to their neighborhood. The strains on the friendship are mirrored in the decline of the close community that supported them into adulthood. Cleveland is a real star here. The extraordinarily vivid sense of place is made all the more palpable by the heat and humidly that can only erupt into thunder and lightening storms in a kind of arson in the sky. Lincoln Perry and his partner Joe Pritchard are perfectly orchestrated characters—the young, idealistic and sometimes brash investigator balanced against the older, seasoned pro has never been done better. The characters they encounter during their investigation are unique, fully realized and absolutely alive. Ed's mother stood out for me in particular. I don't know how a 22-year-old man could write a middle-aged woman with such precision and empathy. This is an exceptional novel, to my mind every bit as good as MYSTIC RIVER. Buy it. Read it. Give it to your friends. This book just might change the way you think about the private eye novel forever."


"A gripping tale of high level political corruption, crooked cops and long-held secrets that put Perry's life at risk. Another winner from one of America's top young mystery writers."

—The Toronto Sun