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Slipping Into Darkness


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.”
Time Magazine

“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.”
Associated Press

“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.”
USA Today

“A devastating crime novel…”
New York Daily News

“Jaw-dropping…A gripping crime story with an unusually powerful sense of character.”
Kirkus Reviews, 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.”
Publishers Weekly

“Sublime…a thoroughly satisfying novel about people doing the best they can and villainy hiding in plain sight.”
Boston Globe

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