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  • Steve Zousmer
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The Philadelphia Quarry

The Philadelphia Quarry

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Black is back. Willie Black was last seen in Oregon Hill, risking the final tattered remnants of his checkered career and his life to free a man almost everyone else believed was guilty. Willies still covering the night police beat with its violent drug deals and dirt naps, still avoiding the hawk that periodically swoops down to pluck away a few more of his colleagues in a floundering business. He still drinks too much, smokes too much and disobeys too much. The only thing that keeps him employed: Hes a damn fine reporter. Even his beleaguered bosses would concede that.
Willie finds himself neck-deep in a part of Richmond that a boy growing up in Oregon Hill could only experience through illicit midnight sorties at the citys most exclusive swimming hole. The Quarry was where Alicia Parker Simpson identified Richard Slade as her rapist, 28 years ago. Then, five days after DNA evidence freed Slade from the prison system in which he had spent his adult life, Alicia Simpson is shot to death.
 
Hardly anyone doubts that Richard Slade did it. Who could blame him? But Willie has his doubts. When the full weight of the citys old money falls on him, trying to crush the story, he only becomes more determined to chase the thing that always seems to get him in trouble the truth. The fact that Richard Slade is his cousin, a link to his long-dead African-American father, only makes Willie more tenacious. In the end, Willie will be drawn back to the Philadelphia Quarry, where it all started so long ago and in whose murky waters the truth lies.
 
"Owen is particularly good at character development and takes a familiar race and class struggle plot to a new level. His second entry featuring crime reporter Willie Black (after the Hammett Prize finalist Oregon Hill) is a stellar mystery deserving of a wide readership."
--Library Journal, Starred Review
 
"Against a backdrop of advertising-suppressed investigative print journalism, Owen uses race and class, coupled with a Faulkner-ian family tragedy, to provide a powerful narrative engine. While the complex noir drama keeps the pages turning, the murderer and motivation complete the storyline perfectly. A quick-flowing crime drama that will have fans eager for Willie Black to right another injustice." --Kirkus

"Narrator Willie, who charmed readers in Oregon Hill (2012), is a hard drinking, old-style newsman who still takes notes with pen and pad and takes his chances with the powers-that-be to get at the truth. A well-plotted mystery elevated above the norm by Owens mastery of character development and his creation of a compelling hero."
--Booklist
 
HOWARD OWEN grew up near Fayetteville, North Carolina. He and his wife, Karen, live in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is his 11th novel in addition to Oregon Hill, Littlejohn, Fat Lightning, Rock of Ages, and The Reckoning. Willie Black first appeared in a short story, The Thirteenth Floor, which was part of Richmond Noir. Howard Owen was awarded the Hammett Mystery Prize in 2012 for Oregon Hill.

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Author Howard Owen
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