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Proving Ground

Nathaniel Dresden, aka “Natty Dread,” never really got along with his father, an infamous civil rights lawyer who defended criminals and spearheaded protest movements. As an act of rebellion, Natty joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq, coming back with a chest full of commendations and a head full of disturbing memories.

But when his father is found murdered near the peaceful confines of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Natty is forced to deal with the troubled legacy of their unresolved relationship. He also has to fend off the growing suspicions of NYPD Detective Lourdes Robles, a brash Latina cop with something to prove, who thinks Natty might bear some responsibility for his father’s death. Though truth be told, the list of people―cops and criminals―who wanted David Dresden out of the way is long. The search for answers leads Natty and Lourdes into an urban labyrinth where they must confront each other―and the brutal truths that could destroy them both.


“A great thriller…I just kept turning the pages…I loved Natty Dread.”
Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition (full review)

“Exceptional…Blauner’s characters are complex and his prose is as impressive as his plot. His gritty portrayal of urban crime recalls the work of Richard Price and Dennis Lehane…A statement about the horrors of war and the way they endure.”
The Washington Post (full review)

“Edgar®-winner Blauner hasn’t lost his touch, as this page-turner demonstrates… Blauner has crafted two strong and complex leads in Natty and Lourdes and given readers an intricate plot that never feels forced.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A top-notch crime novel that avoids easy resolutions and is all the better for its unanswered questions.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Vividly drawn and compelling…Believable…Fine entertainment for crime fiction lovers.”

“Powerfully real.”
The New York Times

“With Proving Ground, Peter Blauner continues to prove why he’s one of the most consistently bracing and interesting voices in American crime literature. A beautifully written and relentlessly exciting thriller.”
—Dennis Lehane
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