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East on Sunset: A Crime Novel (Will Magowan) Hardcover – June 7, 2011

19 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Will MacGowan Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Former narcotics detective Will Magowan, who was fired from the LAPD for substance abuse, has a lot to be happy about in Mercer's stellar follow-up to Slow Fire (2010). Besides getting back together with his wife, Laurie, and having a baby on the way, baseball fan Will has a new job as a security guard for the L.A. Dodgers. Meanwhile, Erik Crandall, who was put behind bars five years earlier after a drug bust, is now free and seeking payback—from Will. Sure that Will pilfered the drug stash from the bust, Crandall begins harassing Will for his cut, all ,000 of it. Will knows nothing of the stolen drugs, but to get the steroid-fueled thug off his back, he needs to revisit his difficult past. Mercer masterfully ratchets up the suspense as the flawed, fully human Will strives to clear his name and protect his family at any cost. Author tour. (June)


"Stellar... Mercer masterfully ratchets up the suspense."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Mercer (Slow Fire, 2010) masterfully builds suspense and provides some welcome twists." --Kirkus Reviews

"Filled with realistic characters... especially touching is Magowan's struggle to sort out a past that is clouded by his use of drugs, the people he should and shouldn't trust, and his struggle to stay straight." --Huffington Post

"Mercer gives readers plenty to stick around for." --San Diego Union Tribune

"Mercer carefully moves his plot forward, drawing out the tension and adding some surprising twists along the way." --Newsday

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Product Details

  • Series: Will Magowan (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312558376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312558376
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,892,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Mercer was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1962 and began writing professionally at the age of 17.

He has written for newspaper, magazine, radio, television and feature films. "Slow Fire" is his first novel.

He lives in California with his wife and daughter.

Learn more at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
East on Sunset finds Will Magowan back in L.A., reunited with his wife Laurie and looking for a job. Out of the past comes Erik Crandall, a drug dealer busted by Will back in the day. Crandall is nearly unrecognizable to Will. After being raped in prison he has decided to bulk up with the help of enough steroids to turn him into the incredible Hulk. He's not hard to miss; he's also had prison tatts done by a biker: eyes in the back of his bald head. When he's released from prison he burglarizes a stable and obtains chemicals intended for horses. Driven by `roid rage, which has turned his testicles to raisins and covered his back in weeping acne, he seeks revenge on Will for (he believes) selling a half mil's worth of drugs confiscated during the arrest. He wants his half mil and then, he promises, he will take a night flight to Honduras and get out of everyone's hair.

While Will light-fingered a trace of Crandall's stash, the rest was taken by persons as yet unknown in the LAPD. After a violent confrontation with Crandall, Will is arrested, is released on bail and faces reality: the only way he can get both Crandall and the prosecutor off of his back is to find out who really stole the pound of fentanyl, a drug so strong that it resulted in the deaths of 30+ purchasers.

Will's search has more twists and turns than a foggy Appalachian mountain road and Crandall's willingness to attack Will's wife, dog and unborn son add urgency to Will's task. Mercer hits all the right notes--injustice, the desire for revenge, a feeling of helplessness and isolation--and does so with a hammer rather than a fingertip. The pile driver plot maintains an insistent pitch as the truths (and bodies) begin to pile up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
No sophomore jinx for Ken Mercer, scoring again with "East on Sunset" and proving that he has the chops to match LA crime writers like Robert Crais or Michael Connelly.

Disgraced former LA narc detective Will Magowan was returned to more familiar SoCal turf after a brief exile in the Pacific Northwest in Mercer's debut, "Slow Burn." The classic tragic hero, Magowan is trying to put his busted life back together, reuniting with his estranged life and expecting a son. So when Will lands a security job with the LA Dodgers, things are looking up for the hapless Magowans - until Erik Crandall shows up. Crandall, a sterozoid-freak ex-con sent to San Quinton courtesy of Will in his LAPD days, is certain Magowan ripped off a half-million bucks worth of dope from the bust, and he wants it back. So the Magowan's briefly idyllic life begins spinning nightmarishly out of control at hands of the menacing Crandall, an unenthused LAPD, and Will's own stubbornness. Simple thuggery gets interesting when Will's once-partner apparently commits suicide, leaving behind what may be the clues to Magowan's fall from grace.

Mercer writes lean, clean prose like the pros - no ham fisted stabs at atmosphere or mood, Elmore Leonard or James Ellroy. He shoots straight from the hip, keeps the action clipping along - and if we're reminded once too much about deceased son Sean or are beginning to think the whining wife Laura is more of a threat than Crandall - hey, it's a small price to pay to welcome fresh talent to a tired genre. Mercer wins readers like Billy Beane wins baseball games - no All Stars in the characters, plot, mystery or setting, but by stitching together solid components that work well together, keep the reader engaged, and delivering the winning combination in the bottom of the ninth.

Well done, Ken. Looking forward to the continued adventures of Will "the thrill" Magowan!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tom Messner on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read the book yesterday on a flight from PBI (West Palm Beach) to LGA (New York City). Well that's a slight exaggeration:
I had to remain in my seat (a window) until everyone had "deplaned" and the sweepers came through because I needed to get
to the ending sitting down and not standing in baggage.
Mercer has a talent for making you angry at both perps and police; prisoners and prisons; gun control and the NRA.
His protagonist is a hero who never realizes it, which makes the creation charming to me.
Only two weaknesses with the book: first the title. The guy works at Dodger Stadium which I suppose is East on Sunset for those to the West
of Chavez Ravine, but other than that it wasn't an essential characteristic of the book.
And the other is the pace. It is is so well-plotted and rapid that I think Mercer should slow down, take a cue from Victor Hugo, toss in some digressions,
and do his next crime
novel for my 6 1/2 hour flights from JFK to LAX.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fired from LAPD ironically due to drug use as he was a narcotics detective, Will Magowan has turned his life around in the past few months. He has reconciled with his beloved wife Laurie and they are expecting a baby. He has obtained employment as a security guard for the L.A. Dodgers, which is great for a baseball fan like Will.

Erik Crandall was arrested and convicted on a drug charge; he spent five years in prison but is free. He believes Will stole the stash during the bust and plans to collect for the drugs with interest. Crandall demands Magowan give him his fair share, but Will insists he never stole the drugs. However, the raging ruthless ex convict increases the pressure, which Magowan counters in order to keep his pregnant spouse out of harm's way.

Magowan's latest thriller (see Slow Fire) is a terrific tense suspense as the audience anticipates a final confrontation. Crandall is obsessed over the stolen drugs but only focuses on the ex cop; Magowan is as obsessed but his focus is on keeping Laurie and their unborn safe. Readers will enjoy High Noon East on Sunset as Will's unsavory past has returned to haunt him and his beloved.

Harriet Klausner
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