In one of the signal crimes that help define an era, a young doctor named Allison Wallis is found bludgeoned to death in her apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A raw-knuckled, hard-charging detective named Francis X. Loughlin catches the case. Very quickly, his suspicious eye is drawn to the son of the building's superintendent, a seemingly meek, science-fiction loving Catholic school boy named Julian "Hoolian" Vega. Evidence is collected, the boy is interrogated, and after some agonizing Francis decides he has his man. Case closed. Or so it appears.
Francis is nearing retirement, and trying to keep the other guys on the Job from finding out that he's going blind. But he makes one last stab at glory when he catches a familiar-sounding case in his old neighborhood. Again, the scene is an old apartment house and the victim is a young female doctor—with more than a passing resemblance to the late Allison Wallis. So when Francis finds out his old adversary Hoolian Vega, just out of prison on a technicality, has been working in the area, all the pieces come together. This time, it's going to be easy. There's infallible DNA technology, that can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the skin cells under both victims' fingernails belong to Hoolian.
Only one problem.
The lab tests reveal that neither of the samples are Hoolian's. In fact, they don't even come from a male. Instead, they reveal something far more disturbing and inexplicable. The DNA found under the fingernails of the 2003 victim, who'd fought back hard against her attacker, belongs to Allison Wallis, a woman who's been dead for twenty years.
And now Francis and Hoolian have to reckon with the damaging fall-out from these cases—and ultimately, confront each other to force the truth to come out.
A character study about two men scraping against each other like sharpening switchblades.
"A taut psychological thriller with a pair of conflicted but compelling antagonists and a surprise ending you'll never see coming."
"Peter Blauner's new novel is being marketed as a thriller, just as his first five were, but this New York City crime writer is up to a lot more than that. Sure, the plot is tense, intricate, and full of surprises, but it's not the plot that matters in a Blauner novel. It's the characters."
"Even the most seasoned mystery authors will be hard-pressed to write a better novel than Slipping Into Darkness, Blauner's sixth. It may very well be the crime novel of the year. Literary in language and form, it applies the latest in science and technology to a classic tale of sex and murder."
"A devastating crime novel..."
—New York Daily News
"Jaw-dropping...A gripping crime story with an unusually powerful sense of character."
—Kirkus (Starred Review)
"The best New York thriller of the moment is Peter Blauner's Slipping Into Darkness, with a title referring to both moral quicksand and failing eyesight. And this moody, location-specific story wears its urban authority with ease... layered and involving... Each of its main characters is lifelike, and each is sharply defined by a sense of New York."
—Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Raw, savvy...Like an especially good Law & Order pumped up on steroids...A mystery with satisfying moral heft."
"A serpentine thriller...Blauner excels with the sharp characterization and sure-footed plotting that fans have come to expect."
"[The book] is elevated by Blauner's surefooted characterization of Julian. Newly free, struggling to find his way, dependent on the (somewhat tenuous) kindness of strangers, he is both sympathetic and tough; his portrait has a complexity that few authors could achieve."
—The New Yorker
"Sublime...a thoroughly satisfying novel about people doing the best they can and villainy hiding in plain sight."
"This dark and brooding tale is an outstanding candidate for best of the year awards, even early in the season—this will be a real contender."
—Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journal
"My favorite mystery writers are poets; writers who see and describe people, places and emotions in a way that is original and accurate. Mr. Blauner ranks with the best...It is possible you'll read a better mystery this year. You won't read a better novel."
—Otto Penzler, The New York Sun
"Homicide detective Francis X. Loughlin, within spitting distance of retirement, thought the Allison Wallis case was buried deep in the past. But now the man convicted in the 20-year-old murder is out of prison, sprung on a technicality. And he is determined to prove to everyone that he was set up (but was he?). This is an excellent mystery novel, written with a certain literary flair that elevates it above the usual cop-versus-ex-con yarn."
"With luck, [Blauner's] newest novel will further afford him the acclaim and status he rightfully deserves..."
"Here is an author who delivers the unexpected with rare grace and gripping suspense...Blauner is a literary, not a thriller writer, and infuses his beautifully drawn studies of human nature with a high level of realism."
—The Poisoned Pen bookstore, Scottsdale, Arizona
"Compelling...Densely textured, character-rich...Both a realistic police procedural and a forceful portrait of a world where a passion to do the right thing can sometimes lead to doing a grievious wrong."
—St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Slipping Into Darkness is sure to satisfy even the most discriminating mystery reader and is certain to be on Top 10 lists by the end of the year."
—The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia
"A rich and pleasing page-turner...a gripping and smart read."
—Columbus This Week Newspapers
"Slipping Into Darkness is so good that I'm going to hunt up his earlier books and hope he creates a sequel to this one..."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Blauner writes novels—gritty, realistic novels...This, his sixth novel, is his most elaborate and intriguing yet. And it's much more than a 'thriller."
—New York Press
"Slipping Into Darkness... is a taut, creative mystery novel."
"Slipping Into Darkness has a great plot, but it's the characters who kept me reading most of a night. Blauner, who won an Edgar® Award for Slow Motion Riot, takes us right into the confused, exhausted, terrified mind of a released convict. But that's only a tiny part of this superb story...A great character study."
—Toronto Globe and Mail
"One of the best books I've read in a long, long time. I've come to expect a lot from Peter Blauner, but this was amazing, even by his standards. It's got the cynical yet crystalline quality of Raymond Chandler, and two of the great antagonists in mystery fiction. This is one ace-high suspense novel."
"It's the best book I've read in a long time."
—Carroll Johnson, ReviewingTheEvidence.com
"There are a number of suspense authors doing impressive work right now, but only a very few whose writing is approaching the quality of Blauner's in Slipping Into Darkness. As hard as it may seem to believe, we could have one of the best books of the year already with us."
—Joe Hartlaub, BookReporter.com
"In spite of a January release, Slipping Into Darkness is sure to appear on a lot of year-end "Best of" lists. This is simply an incredible book."
—Gary Shulze, Once Upon A Crime
"Slipping Into Darkness is an outstanding novel, certainly one of the best I've read this year, perhaps in several years."
—Catherine Thompson, Booksnbytes.com
"This is an excellent work, with the puzzle being constantly intriguing and the writing solid and strong. Very well done."
"The characters and plot are excellent...A good suspense novel."
—Daily American, Somerset County, PA
"Strong writing, good characters, and crisp movement."
"Ranks up there as one of Blauner's best, which is saying a lot...An ending so shocking it's sure to leave you reeling. Don't miss this one; it's of the type that will leave you thinking long after it's over."
—New Mystery Reader
"An intelligent, exciting tale of crime and punishment, and the wonder of redemption...Slipping Into Darkness is Peter Blauner at his best."
"Peter Blauner's novels deliver so much more than most; they ache, brood and erupt with authenticity. Slipping Into Darkness is true to his code: bracing realism and taut storytelling ignited by a double homicide that is as brilliant as the riddle of the
—George Hagen, author of The Laments
"A terrific, compelling story; but as usual with Peter Blauner's books, the vivid characters and the sheer high quality of the writing itself take center stage. There is no better storyteller or prose stylist than Peter Blauner, anywhere."
—SJ Rozan, author of Absent Friends
"Peter Blauner is one of my all-time favorite writers. No one—no one—does urban paranoia better and sets an ordinary guy in a hellish situation to such devastating effect. Slipping Into Darkness is a powerhouse of a novel, and is done with such style and wondrous writing that I reached for my rosary beads on more than one occasion to give thanks for such a mesmerizing book. Rarely has a title been more cunningly deployed."
—Ken Bruen, author of The Magdalen Martyrs