THIRD RAIL by Rory Flynn

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It’s likely that Eddy Harkness will never live down the notoriety of the Turnpike Toreador case. And yet he does hold out some hope that if he keeps clean while on forced leave he may one day be welcomed back to his old team. Until then he’s taken a job on his old hometown force, quietly waiting for his punishment to run up.

Unfortunately, a night of binge drinking leaves Eddy suddenly – an unofficially – relieved of his service weapon. He hopes he’s mislaid it in his drunken revels but it soon becomes clear that the gun has been stolen. Eddy is well aware that he’s on borrowed time: once his slip up is discovered, he’s finished. His only choice is to find the gun before that happens.

In the meantime, he still has a job to do.

The town of Nagog has had a growing number of accidental deaths of late. No one seems terribly concerned but Eddy believes it warrants a little more attention. What he discovers is a possible link to a new designer drug and what he suspects is a connection to his stolen gun.

Third Rail essentially begins in the middle of a story. Eddy is down and out thanks to a former case (nicknamed the Turnpike Toreador), the specifics of which are revealed only as the book progresses. It’s clear Eddy is no regular beat cop – he’s clever and seemingly pretty good at his job in spite of the way he’s treated. Turns out he was part of a special squad, one that also suffers in the wake of the case that made Eddy a household name in Massachusetts law enforcement. Eddy’s own reputation isn’t the only thing that’s at stake. Any and all attention is on him as fellow cops and criminals wait for another screw up.

I really had no idea what to expect out of Third Rail. A dark and gritty crime novel, sure – and it certainly is that – but Third Rail was so much more. In fact, it’s one of the best crime fiction releases I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far this year. Eddy is an excellent character, one I can’t wait to see more of, and his story is something of a genre standout in my opinion.

This is the debut title by Rory Flynn (aka Stona Fitch) and the first in a new series.

8/14 Becky Lejeune

THIRD RAIL by Rory Flynn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (June 10, 2014). ISBN 978-0544226272. 224p.

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