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Mercer shows promise, but succumbs to clichés and the implausible in his debut about a former LAPD narcotics detective trying to rebuild his life after being a heroin addict. Will Magowan's new job as police chief in the tiny rural California town of Haydenville is his chance to show that he's again ready for police work. Far from an idyllic town, Haydenville has a thriving meth industry that's made addicts of many residents. Nice place to live, if it wasn't for all the tweakers, thinks Will, who suspects convicted murderer turned famous author, Frank Carver, who often acts as the town's patron, is up to no good. Mercer explores with finesse Will's past, the loss of his son, and his desire to reconnect with his wife, Laurie, but he uses the mayor's threat to fire Will too often, and as the most casual viewer of police dramas knows, even a smalltown cop can't just shoot a criminal or have someone die on his watch and expect to be at work the next hour. Author tour. (Feb.)
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Will Magowan’s heroin addiction cost him his job as a narcotics detective with the LAPD, but he has a second chance when he’s offered the position of police chief in Haydenville, a tiny, bucolic town in the far northern reaches of California. Is it a blessing or curse? Haydenville is plagued by a growing methamphetamine problem, and local authorities and politicians seem unwilling to tackle the crisis head-on. (They just can’t believe the drug’s primary supplier is novelist Frank Carver, Haydenville’s most celebrated citizen.) Will and his neophyte sidekick, Thomas, are determined to bring Carver to justice, but the consequences prove dire. At the same time, Will must cope with a marriage ripped apart by the tragic death of his young son. Might the stress of his life and job prompt him to replay past sins? Vulnerable and deeply damaged Magowan makes for a compelling protagonist in this crisp, well-written debut, the first in a series. Mercer could make a good thing even better with a bit more suspense. --Allison BlockSee all Editorial Reviews
I just finished reading Slow Fire and couldn't give Ken Mercer a review of this book other than, outstanding! I read a lot of crime novels and this is one of the best I've read. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jean Randall
An interesting lead, a pretty good story. A bad guy known from the first. But way too cinematic, not in a good way. Conventional plot turns, when it could have been much more.Published on April 22, 2012 by John Bowes
A great debut novel by Ken Mercer. Using a tried and true formula of failure and redemption, Mercer creates a very sympathetic protagonist that seeks a second chance as Chief of... Read morePublished on May 14, 2011 by ncvol
Okay, I read this book back in March 2010, picked it back up at the library in July 2010 and read about the first 100 pages before I remembered reading it previously (and that is... Read morePublished on August 3, 2010 by Cheryl Stout
The small mountain town of Haydenville, California appears idyllic for backpacking, kayaking and swimming. Unfortunately, tourists are being reported missing and/or found dead. Read morePublished on July 1, 2010 by J. B. Hoyos
I came into this book not knowing if I would like it. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. The Northern California town was unfamiliar but all too real. Read morePublished on June 22, 2010 by J. Lane
When an author can get the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end within the first few pages of a novel, you know that he or she is worth the valuable time you will spend... Read morePublished on June 4, 2010 by Bookreporter
Honestly, this is one of the best first novels I've read. The basic idea of a discredited cop getting a job as police chief in a cmall corrupted town certainly is nothing new and... Read morePublished on June 2, 2010 by Neal Reynolds
You would think it's another bad cop from the city trying to survive as the law in a small town when you start reading Slow Fire by Ken Mercer. It is more than that. Read morePublished on May 31, 2010 by grumpydan