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The Silent Hour

Following his critically acclaimed Envy the Night (“A dynamic thriller”—The New York Times), Michael Koryta returns with a blistering new installment of the Edgar®-, Shamus-, and Quill-nominated Lincoln Perry series.

Whisper Ridge—Home to Dreams—November 6, 1992-April 27, 1996 

So reads the strange epitaph carved beside the door of the home called Whisper Ridge, a multimillion-dollar piece of architectural majesty that once housed the beginnings of a unique program for paroled murderers. It was the passion of Alexandra Sanabria, the daughter of a deceased Mafia don, but the program never got off the ground. Uninhabited for twelve years, the home now remains as a strange monument to dangerous secrets.

Private investigator Lincoln Perry’s first involvement with the house and its legacy comes when Parker Harrison—a convicted killer and former tenant of Whisper Ridge—asks him to find Alexandra, who disappeared with her husband after the failure of the program. Disconcerted and embarrassed by his own immediate mistrust of Harrison, Perry decides to take the request at face value until he discovers that the bones of the Alexandra’s husband were discovered at the exact same time Harrison began his quest to locate her.

Now the investigation is active again and decade-old threats are circling, confronting Perry with a sordid family mystery that will challenge both his abilities as a detective and his commitment to that calling.

Once again Michael Koryta (“Addictively readable”—Chicago Tribune) has crafted an intricate, fast-paced thriller, ratcheting up the tension as he explores just how dangerous the offer of a second chance can be.


"Edgar-finalist Koryta spins a dark tale of broken dreams and second chances in his stunning fourth mystery to feature Cleveland, Ohio, PI Lincoln Perry (after 2008's A Welcome Grave). When Perry starts receiving letters from convicted murder Parker Harrison, he ignores them until the man shows up in his office. Twelve years earlier, the then recently paroled Harrison worked for Alexandra and Joshua Cantrell, a couple who ran a rehabilitation program for violent offenders. Then they disappeared, and Harrison wants Perry's help in tracking down Alexandra. Suspicious why Harrison waited so long, Perry discovers that Joshua's bones were recently unearthed in Pennsylvania. Ken Merriman, a Pittsburgh PI, soon arrives in Cleveland, asking Perry for help finding out who killed Joshua. That Alexandria's brother heads one of Cleveland's most notorious mob families complicates matters. Perry has to reconsider everything he thought he knew about right, wrong and everything in between." (Aug.)

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Private eye Lincoln Perry walks the meanest streets of the 21st century. While his partner Joe is in Florida considering retirement, Linc drifts around their Cleveland office ignoring mail and phone calls until the door opens to admit Parker Harrison, who's been trying to reach him for months. Parker, paroled 13 years ago after doing time for killing his ex's boyfriend, wants him to find Alexandra Cantrell. She ran Whisper Ridge, the halfway house Parker lived in for a year after he got out of jail, until she and her husband Joshua disappeared. Linc turns him down, then reconsiders when Joshua's body is uncovered on the Whisper Ridge property. Who killed him? Who buried him? The case hinges on two factors: Alexandra's insistence on rehabbing cons and her blood tie to the Sanabria crime family. Ken Merriman, a Pittsburgh shamus, becomes involved, although he refuses to identify his client; the gumshoes are soon invading Detective Quinn Graham's turf and uncovering former Whisper Ridge residents who were plants, some loyal to the FBI, some to the Sanabria interests. A retired FBI agent still after Sanabria causes more complications, and even Joe's return from Florida can't cut through all the double-crosses. Employing his stubbornness and investigative skills, Linc manages to unravel many mysteries and find the missing Alexandra but remains unsure of his own direction. Feisty plotting and the most memorable prose since Chandler. Koryta (A Welcome Grave, 2007, etc.) belongs on every genre reader's bookshelf."

—Kirkus, starred review

"This is Koryta's fourth novel and the latest instalment in the Lincoln Perry series, for which Koryta received an Edgar nomination. The Silent Hour is every bit as good as Envy the Night and maybe even better. The story begins with a strange confession of murder. Or is it a confession? In any event, Parker Harrison admits to a crime, enters a plea, has no trial and is sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole. Skip ahead lots of years. Harrison has been paroled to a place called Whisper Ridge, a spectacular estate where a woman named Alexandra Sanabria ran a unique program to rehabilitate paroled killers. But Whisper Ridge never really got going because Sanabria and her husband disappeared one night. Twelve years later, Harrison wants Lincoln Perry to find out what happened. Perry distrusts Harrison, but wonders: If Harrison had anything to do with Sanabria's disappearance, why would he want it investigated? So Perry sets aside his misgivings. At least until the bones of Sanabria's husband turn up, buried at Whisper Ridge. Koryta is definitely one of the best of the new generation of U.S. mystery writers. If you haven't already discovered Lincoln Perry, The Silent Hour is a great place to start."

—Toronto Globe and Mail

"The first few times Lincoln Perry gets letters from murderer Parker Harrison, he throws them away. What private investigator hasn't received a plea to prove some criminal's innocence? But that's not what the persistent Harrison, who has already served his time, wants. He wants to tell Perry a story—and then have Perry tell him the ending. Well, that's what detectives do, after all. And as novelist Michael Koryta writes in The Silent Hour, this story is intriguing. It seems that in the rolling Ohio countryside outside Cleveland (where Perry lives and works) there's a once-beautiful, extraordinary house, built into a hillside. Called Whisper Ridge, it has been standing empty for 12 years. Its owners—anthropologist Joshua Cantrell and his wife, Alexandra—walked away from it 12 years ago and, apparently, dropped off the face of the planet. Harrison lived there after he got out of jail 13 years ago, working for the Cantrells as part of a project they were involved in to rehabilitate criminals. He wants to know why they disappeared. He especially wants to know what happened to Alexandra, "the most amazing woman I ever met." Perry is suspicious about almost everything related to Harrison, but something about the story gets under his skin. Soon he's driving through that countryside, prowling around the empty house, visiting the lawyer who has paid the taxes on it out of a fund Alexandra set up before she left. The lawyer doesn't know why the Cantrells disappeared, but he has two facts for Perry. Joshua Cantrell's bones were recently found in the woods just over the Pennsylvania border. And Alexandra's maiden name is Sanabria—as in the most notorious Mob family in Cleveland. Perry is hooked, and when one of the Sanabrias visits him to warn him off the search, it just sets the hook deeper. Perry's partner, Joe Pritchard, isn't around to help with the case—he's in Florida, recovering from injuries he received during a previous investigation. Koryta won the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for best mystery/thriller for his first stand-alone novel, Envy the Night. With The Silent Hour he returns to Perry, the series character of his first three novels. (The first, Tonight I Said Goodbye, was published when Koryta was only 21.) Koryta has worked as a private investigator, and it gives his novels an authentic quality—a lot of the work such people do is not exactly glamorous. He does a fine job of bringing Cleveland to life, taking Perry to different parts of the city and sending him to dine at landmarks like Sokolowski's University Inn and Mama Santa's. Perry also takes a side trip to Florida with his journalist girlfriend to visit Joe in Indian Rocks, and gives shoutouts to St. Petersburg's Pacific Wave restaurant and the Poynter Institute. Koryta knows this territory, too—he lives part of the year here and is on the faculty of Eckerd College's annual Writers in Paradise conference, co-founded by Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson. The inventive plot of The Silent Hour surprises right up to the end, and in Perry, Koryta has created a classic tough detective—a man with enough dark passages in his own past to recognize them in others, a bulldog who just can't let go until the ending of the story is told, no matter how close to hell it takes him."

—St. Petersburg Times