Gwendalynn Anders, a mid-Western girl who's never seen the ocean, wonders what was in that joint she smoked a week before waking up on Elysiana, and why it feels like the trip will last the entire summer of 1969.
Jack Halcyon, living atop an abandoned twenty-story hotel, wonders how he's able to ponder the incongruities of life after leaving a big chunk of his brain at the scene of an accident.
Borough Council President Norman Harlan wonders what cruel God put him on an equal footing with Avery Volpe, the fearsome Captain of the Beach Patrol.
Twelve miles long and a mile wide, Elysiana is an island off the coast of New Jersey sitting astride the convergence of powerful fault lines social, political, and existential. It s a place of beauty and insanity, shared by the angelic and profane. Where cops, criminals, prodigies, and the promiscuous find themselves at the haphazard mercy of a lunatic providence.
Other players include a globe-trotting whiz kid, an Italo-Hispanic crime boss, a surfing aesthete and his vulgar roommate, a career car stereo thief, and a seven-year-old girl who's probably spent too much time with the dead bodies in the dunes.
This is a story that could have only happened on the Jersey Shore during the summer of 69. A time when the social fabric was tearing apart, in a place where that fabric had never been very well knit together.
Elysiana is both a fabulist's look at a lost time and place and a hurtling thriller. It's a tale of two types of transition the
personal and the grand. All played out within the isolated magic of a barrier island.
"Elysiana is a departure for Knopf, whose Sam Acquillo mysteries have won reviewers’ raves, but he nails it. The seemingly shambling plot proves ultimately to be sly, and Knopf’s sweet-spirited style recalls memories spurred by faded home movies of long-ago vacations. His bio says that he was a New Jersey lifeguard back in the day, and he captures the zeitgeist of the Shore perfectly. Every “shoobie” on the beach who eschews MTV’s odious Jersey Shore should be reading Elysiana this season." —Booklist
"Smart dialogue and sharp social observations distinguish this stand-alone thriller from Knopf. Like John D. Macdonald or Charles Willeford in a lighter mood, he's unsentimentally fond of his characters and tentatively hopeful about their ability to salvage something from the wreckage around them."
"It’s not every blood-and-guts action romp filled with hippie dropouts and degenerate misfits, many of them high on hallucinogens and low in heeding the law, that can reference The Bernouilli effect, Jean Paul Sartre and Anais Nin. But Chris Knopf delivers, with ease, wit and humor, never letting arcana interfere with suspense. The result is Elysiana, named for a fictional South Jersey barrier island. It’s Knopf’s sixth novel and a breakaway from his award-winning Sam Acquillo murder mysteries, featuring the hard-headed,tough-talking, soft-hearted Southampton-based protagonist, though traces of Sam’s character can be detected in one or two of the odd balls who make their home on this stretch of land, at once savagely beautiful off shore and often savage inland."
—Joan Baum for NPR and The Independent
is the award winningauthor of the highly acclaimed SamAcquillo Hamptons mystery series: TheLast Refuge, Two Time, Head Wounds
,and Hard Stop
. As a young college student he worked as a lifeguard in Avalonon the South Jersey shore—a place notunlike the setting for Elysiana
. A sailor,cabinet maker, and advertising executiveat Mintz & Hoke in Avon, Connecticut,Chris and his wife Mary also spend considerable time at their Southampton, LongIsland home.