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The Crime Writer Hardcover – July 19, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hurwitz's L.A. thriller has noir pulp chutzpah in spades, even if it does start out with a bang and end up shooting blanks. When Andrew Drew Danner, a crime novelist, is tried for the murder of his ex-fiancée, Genevieve Bertrand, beside whose body he was found holding a bloody knife, he pleads not guilty. He has no memory of how he got to the crime scene because of a breakdown caused by a recently removed brain tumor. Once he's found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, Danner sets out to find the real killer—or discover some very nasty things about himself. Someone's also trying to frame him for a second murder that appears to be similar to that of Bertrand. Luckily, Danner gets help from old friend Chic, an ex-professional baseball player, and Lloyd Wagoner, a troubled police criminalist. A tense, page-turning first act leads to disappointing explanations involving the police and a misinterpreted phone message. Still, the fast pace and ingenious setup provide considerable tension. Hurwitz (Last Shot) may not have written a California classic, but it's a worthy effort.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Successful crime-novelist Drew Danner has gained true tabloid fame--as the murderer of his ex-fiance. Found by the police in the midst of a brain-tumor-induced grand mal seizure, with her blood covering his hands and his fingerprints on the murder weapon, Danner seems to be the only person in L.A. who isn't sure he is a killer. Emergency surgery after his arrest removes the tumor, and a temporary insanity defense frees him, but his comfortable life is shattered. He can't live without knowing if he killed a woman he once loved. His only choice is to become a character in a story he hasn't written. Danner's anguish is compellingly described, and the plot has more twists and turns than Mulholland Drive. At least half a dozen characters are vividly drawn, and nearly all are like Danner--struggling to recover from some tragic and life-altering event. Hurwitz's insights about L.A. life sound knowing and are often ruefully funny, e.g., "L.A., where a porn star runs for governor and an action figure wins." Crime fans looking for something different will love this one.Thomas Gaughan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670063215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670063215
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of fourteen novels, most recently Don't Look Back, You're Next, The Survivor and Tell No Lies. His books have been nominated for numerous awards, shortlisted twice for best novel of the year by International Thriller Writers, nominated for CWA's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, chosen as feature selections for all four major literary book clubs, honored as Book Sense Picks, nominated for the Galaxy National Book Award, and translated into twenty two languages.
Gregg has written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios, and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). He has published numerous academic articles on Shakespeare, taught fiction writing in the USC English Department, and guest lectured for UCLA, and for Harvard in the United States and internationally. In the course of researching his thrillers, he has sneaked onto demolition ranges with Navy SEALs, swum with sharks in the Galápagos, and gone undercover into mind-control cults.
Hurwitz grew up in the Bay Area. While completing a BA from Harvard and a master's from Trinity College, Oxford in Shakespearean tragedy, he wrote his first novel. He was the undergraduate scholar-athlete of the year at Harvard for his pole-vaulting exploits, and played college soccer in England, where he was a Knox fellow. He now lives in L.A. where he continues to play soccer, frequently injuring himself.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend his books, this is the third one for me and I'm looking forward to his others.
Deborah
This book has twists and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat, I really enjoyed the characters and plots that develop when reading this novel.
Gregory
Hurwitz has written one of the stand-out books of the summer, combining great writing, memorable characters and white-knuckle suspense.
David Montgomery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on August 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Drew Danner is a bestselling mystery writer with a successful career, plenty of money and a beautiful home. His idyllic life quickly turns into a nightmare, however, when he awakes in a hospital room, his skull covered with stitches from an operation to excise a brain tumor.

To his horror, Danner learns that he was found in the midst of a crippling seizure, covered in blood and huddled over the corpse of his former fiancée. Despite the holes in his memory caused by the tumor, Danner is convinced he didn't kill her.

He sets out to prove his innocence, using the skills for research and the expert connections that made him a success as a novelist. When Danner is accused of a second murder, his quest to clear his name takes on life-or-death importance.

Hurwitz has written one of the stand-out books of the summer, combining great writing, memorable characters and white-knuckle suspense. He's also crafted a story that uses the city of Los Angeles to beautiful effect. THE CRIME WRITER is not just the best novel this author has written; it would take top rank on many authors' resumes.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By BrianMusic on September 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Never having read Hurwitz before, I bought this book based on the glowing praise of Lee Child's endorsement on the back cover. (I consider Child and Vachss to be the best writers of their genre. Hands down. If they recommend it, I read it.)

So with that said, as my first entry into Hurwitz, clearly a talented writer, I felt that this book coasted in 3rd gear pretty much throughout.

With a terrific opening chapter and overall creative premise, and some wonderful heartfelt relationship scenes (e.g. Caroline and Junior) I kept waiting for it to blast off - yet it never did. I wish there was a stronger momentum building toward the climax.

It's a solid effort; I wouldn't consider it a boneafide page-turner, but I would read Hurwitz again -
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Wardrip VINE VOICE on April 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a great read!

Although it took me a few chapters to get into the story (it's told in alternating real-time and past-tense chapters), this was one thriller that grabs on and never lets go.

I've read other Gregg Hurwitz titles, but THE CRIME WRITER is the first one that had me reading late into the night just to see what happened next. This is one read that definitely keeps you on your toes, and questions everything you think you know about what has happened or what's going to happen.

Highly recommended -- this one's a winner!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaye Oldner on January 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am glad I didn't read these negative reviews prior to getting the book. It might have dampened my spirits. True, the book has a melancholy narrative; but please, Drew is being charged for murder. He's not sure if he did it, plus a piece of his brain is floating in a jar. I think the book was set up perfectly.

Fantastic book. Fantastic writer.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J.D. on August 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Crime Writer finds Hurwitz exploring a new, more noir-influenced direction in his always impeccably crafted crime stories. His previous work exemplified high-octane action scenes, stunning attention to detail, and fast paced thrills. In the Crime Writer, Hurwitz lets the story breath while soaking in the atmosphere of LA, with some hilarious and insightful depictions in the tradition of Raymond Chandler.

The story is a kind of post-modern take on noir and how crime, pop culture, and Los Angeles have been doing their dance since the city's inception. As a crime writer, the novel's protagonist, Drew Danner, finds himself in the middle of a plot straight out of one of his own pot-boilers. As he begins his investigation into clearing his own name, he finds that much of what he thought to be true isn't. He decides the only way to discover the truth is to write his own story, but he finds that he may be in over his head in the real world.

The Crime Writer features one of the best hooks in recent memory. The characters, humor, and unfolding mystery make it impossible to put down. Readers looking for an original take on the classic LA noir tradition will love the Crime Writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on August 30, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz steps away from his US Marshal Tim Rackley series for his latest novel, THE CRIME WRITER. Hurwitz says that Andrew Danner's story insisted on being told.

I have to admit, I was intrigued by the title and the premise. The title alone is provocative to me because I love whodunits and tough guy private eyes. In the novel, Andrew Danner wakes up in the hospital after undergoing an emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a result, he doesn't remember the last few hours of his conscious life.

The police are waiting in his hospital room and Danner quickly discovers that they believe he killed his ex-fiancé in a fit of rage. Danner knows he wasn't happy about the split, but he's also pretty sure that he wouldn't kill anyone. Except that there's that whole question of that pesky tumor and the mystery of why he was over at his ex-fiancé's house that night anyway.

Danner, like Hurwitz, is a bestselling crime writer, and he can't let those mysteries go unsolved. Despite his release after his murder trial, he finds his life irrevocably turned upside down. He feels he has no choice except to figure out what truly happened the night his ex-fiancé was murdered.

However, before he can get deep into his own investigation, Danner is arrested again. Another woman has been found murdered, and the clues at the murder scene once more point to the crime writer.

Reviews over this novel seem to be mixed, and I think that's fair. Hurwitz takes liberties with his plot and the whole noir flavor of the story. If you take time to think about the various complexities of the plot, and how things fall neatly into place, you'll find that sometimes they do grind against each other.
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