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  • Erik Mauritzson
  • Jeffrey B. Burton
  • E.L. Carter
  • David Freed
  • Kaushik Barua
  • Chris Knopf
  • Maria Flook
  • William Herrick


The Last Refuge

The Last Refuge


Quick Overview:

The Last Refuge by Chris Knopf (paperback)
Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery #1
ISBN: 9781579621377
279 Pages


finalist for the Connecticut Book Award
a Book Sense Selection 

A compelling debut from a fresh new voice in crime fiction!

Sam Acquillo is at the end of the line. A middle-aged corporate dropout living in his dead parents ramshackle cottage in the Hamptons, Sam has abandoned his friends, family and a big-time career to sit on his porch, drink vodka and stare at the Little Peconic Bay.

But when the old lady next door ends up floating dead in her bathtub it seems like Sam is the only one who wonders why. Burned-out, busted up and cynical, the ex-engineer, ex-professional boxer, ex-loving father and husband finds himself uncovering secrets no one could have imagined, least of all Sam himself.

Meanwhile, a procession of quirky characters intrudes on Sam's misanthropic ways. A beautiful banker, pot-smoking lawyer, bug-eyed fisherman and gay billionaire join a full complement of cops, thugs and local luminaries in this tale of money and murder.

"Sam Acquillo, the hero of Knopf's arresting debut (a Book Sense Notable Selection), is the very epitome of the dropout. An ex-corporation man, divorced from his wife and estranged from his daughter, he lives in his parents' run-down cottage in Southampton, Long Island, and seems content to drink himself into oblivion. Then one day he finds the black and swollen body of his elderly neighbor who has apparently drowned in her bathtub. Is it an accident or murder? And if it's the latter, will solving the mystery behind Regina's death enable Sam to pick up the pieces of his life and move on? There's a definite whiff of Elmore Leonard here, particularly in the snappy dialogue and the colorful, oddball characters, including a gay billionaire. Knopf's effortless narrative style and sense of humor bode well for the further adventures of Sam Acquillo." —Publishers Weekly

"Take one hard-boiled burnout case, add a cynical sense of humor, throw in a sweetheart of a dog and you've got The Last Refuge. The plot also shows real finesse and has some of the best characters I've come across in a mystery in a long time. Although a hard-bitten loner isn't exactly a new idea in mysteries, Knopf manages to make Sam Acquillo come across as a Chandleresque icon rather than a stereotype." —The Rocky Mountain News

"Though the mystery drives the plot, its Sams rediscovery of himself in middle age that is the real focus in this accomplished debut novel, which also boasts outstanding dialogue and a vividly rendered setting. Expect to hear more from Knopf; he is definitely a writer to watch." —Booklist

"In this first of a series, Knopf turns a mean sentence." —Kirkus

"The spare, emotionally eloquent style of Chris Knopfs first novel, gives shapely form to the story narrated by a 52-year old systems engineer who has opted out of his fast-track life. It bothered me that people considered light-heartedness and optimism the norm, says this reclusive hero, who has spent the past four years drinking alone, tinkering with his fathers 67 Pontiac Grand Prix and brooding on the desperate hopelessness of human existence. The characters Knopf chats up are such original oddballs and their conversation so bracing that you want to kick off your shoes and spend some time on the porch with them, just taking in the view and enjoying the talk." —The New York Times

"The good news is that Chris Knopf's The Last Refuge will not be the last of Sam Acquillo, the 50-ish, hard-drinking, ex-amateur boxer, and MIT-trained ex-engineer, now loner and reluctant hero of Knopfs noir first novel. The better news is that this tale of money and murder in the Hamptons is sexywitty, understated, sensual, mischievous, and fun, and boasting a Bogart-like protagonist who attracts women, elicits the admiration of men, and has proved his humanity by having adopted Eddie, an affectionate mixed breed, with whom he enjoys one-way sardonic conversations."The Independent


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Additional Information

Author Chris Knopf
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