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The Girl Next Door: A Mystery Hardcover – March 13, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031266768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312667689
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Eyes of the Innocent

“Engaging... A capable follow-up to this author’s award-winning debut mystery.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Fast-paced, thoroughly satisfying... Carter Ross is not only a first-rate investigative reporter; he’s also a first-rate comic. It’s a rare mystery that provides a good laugh on almost every page. One can only hope that Brad Parks has more mysteries for Carter Ross to solve in future books.”
The [Newark] Star-Ledger

Eyes of the Innocent is the complete package. With wonderful prose, witty observations, and a relentless drive, this book held me hostage until the last page. Well done, Brad Parks!”
—Michael Connelly

Praise for Faces of the Gone

“Impressive debut... Carter’s fresh voice, his willingness to be entertained balanced by honest sympathy and some sharp editorializing, is the book’s considerable strength. The action, including a string of bombings, is brisk; the villain’s identity is elusive; and the settings (from the projects to National Drug Bureau offices) ring true. How could this be better?”
Houston Chronicle

“Brad Parks [has] delivered a first-rate crime thriller.... Faces of the Gone is gritty and hard-boiled, but with a sly sense of humor. This strong and confident debut is sure to make an appearance on many ‘best of’ and awards lists. Parks is a bright new talent whom readers will hopefully be able to enjoy for years to come.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Commanding, entertaining... Parks, former reporter at the Star-Ledger in Newark, shows he’s made the transition to becoming a novelist with this impressive debut.”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

About the Author

Brad Parks is the first author to win both the Shamus Award and the Nero Award for Best American Mystery for his debut novel, Faces of the Gone. A former reporter for The Washington Post and The [Newark] Star-Ledger, he lives in Virginia, and this is his third novel.

 


More About the Author

Brad Parks is the only author to have won the Shamus, Nero and Lefty Awards. He received the Shamus (for best first private eye novel) and the Nero (for best American mystery) for his debut, FACES OF THE GONE, the first book in history to take both awards. The Lefty (for best humorous mystery) went to his third book, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. The series, which features sometimes-dashing investigative reporter Carter Ross, also includes EYES OF THE INNOCENT and THE GOOD COP. It has received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. Shelf-Awareness has deemed the Carter Ross books "perfect for the reader who loves an LOL moment but wants a mystery that's more than empty calories" and Library Journal has called the series "essential reading" and "a refreshing tonic for the mystery soul." It will continue with a fifth installment, THE PLAYER, in 2014. Parks is a graduate of Dartmouth College and spent a dozen years as a reporter for The Washington Post and The Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. He is now a full-time novelist who lives in Virginia with his wife and two small children.

Much Too Long (And Sometimes Silly) Version:

Brad Parks started writing professionally at 14, when he discovered two important things about his hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield (Conn.) Press: One, it paid freelancers 50 cents a column inch for articles about local high school sports; and, two, it ran most submissions at their original length. For Brad, that meant making more money writing than babysitting. For the parents of the girls' basketball players at Ridgefield High, that meant glowing accounts of their daughters' games that ran on for no less than 40 inches.

This launched Brad on a 20-year journalism career, one that continued at Dartmouth College, where he founded a weekly sports newspaper that he ran out of his dorm room. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa, he was hired by The Washington Post, becoming the youngest writer on the paper's staff. Two years later, he moved to The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. A sportswriter who later switched to news, he covered everything from the Super Bowl to the Masters, from small-town pizza wars to Hurricane Katrina. His work was recognized by, among others, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Headliner Awards, the National Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association, which gave its top award for enterprise reporting to Brad's 40-year retrospective on the Newark riots. He was also a two-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists (sometimes called the "Junior Pulitzers").

While on assignment for The Star-Ledger in 2004, Brad covered a quadruple homicide in Newark that provided the real-life launching point for Carter Ross, a fictional character who bears no resemblance to Brad beyond their shared height, weight, eye color, hair color, skin color, charmed upbringing, sartorial blandness and general worldview.

Brad left the newspaper industry in 2008 to pursue fiction-writing. In 2009, he published FACES OF THE GONE, which sold through its first print run in nine days and went on to win the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and the Shamus Award for Best First Mystery. It made Brad the only author in the combined 60-year history of those awards to win both for the same book. Library Journal called Faces of the Gone "the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money," while Yahoo.com opined that Brad was "the literary love child of Evanovich and (Harlan) Coben."

The next installment of the Carter Ross series, EYES OF THE INNOCENT, also went back to print nine days after its release. Library Journal cheered it was "as good if not better (than) his acclaimed debut" and The Wall Street Journal called it "engaging." Meanwhile, readers on a popular book review website voted Carter Ross "The World's Favorite Amateur Sleuth" in a 64-sleuth, tournament-style bracket, where he beat out Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the finals (Brad's explanation of the upset: "I'm on Twitter. Agatha Christie isn't."). He was also named one of "Crime Fiction's Sexiest Authors of 2011" (for which there is no explanation, beyond blindness).

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, the third Carter Ross adventure, released in March 2012 and climbed to No. 3 on the Baker & Taylor Fiction/Mystery Bestseller List. It was nominated for a Lefty Award for best humorous mystery, and Kirkus Reviews placed it on its Best Fiction of 2012 list. Publishers Weekly called it "a Sopranos-worthy ragout of high drama and low comedy" while Booklist lauded it as "a masterpiece" in a starred review. RT Book Reviews warned, "Reading will be compulsive."

The series continues with THE GOOD COP. A fifth Carter Ross novel is also written and awaiting publication. An enthusiastic public speaker, Brad will serve as Toastmaster at the 2014 Left Coast Crime. He has also been known to burst into song at bookstores, libraries, book conferences, and other places where no one was thoughtful enough to muzzle him. When not writing, he is a washed up jock, a closeted community theater nerd, a father to two and a husband to one. He lives in the tidewater part of Virginia, where he is currently working on the next Carter Ross mystery.

Customer Reviews

The book is full of great character development and humor.
P. N. Anderson
I am sorry, I tried so hard to like this book, but I just couldn't get into it.
Linda Demaree
I thought the plot moved along very well; pace is always crucial in mysteries.
Malfoyfan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The last time I had this much fun reading a book was an early Stephanie Plum.
Carter Ross, a 32 year old veteran reporter from Newark, has a great sense of humor and great looks. He decides to look into a hit and run death of a fellow "Eagle-Examiner" employee, a paper delivery person. This story leads him into the realization that it was no accident- it was murder. As he investigates, he gets arrested as a "Peeping Tomcat", runs from a bear on the urban Newark streets, has a very hot shower scene with his editor and is fired from his job.
This book was so much fun. I laughed out loud more than once. One of my favorite scenes is when his intern, Lunky, writes the story about the bear by discussing the bear in fiction citing William Faulkner and John Irving. Absolutely hysterical.
I thought this was a debut novel but discovered it was the third in the series. You don't have to read the first two to appreciate this one. I didn't and I enjoyed it. I am going to read the first two. That's how much I liked this one.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am still chuckling after reading Brad Parks' The Girl Next Door. First, I'm laughing at myself for the lukewarm and sanctimonious 3-star review I had written in my mind half-way into this Newark, New Jersey-based mystery. And second, it's just plain funny. But its sly wit is of the slow-release variety, and I was so focused on the low-octane plot mechanics that I almost missed out on a really, really good read.

Carter Ross is a 30-something news journalist who reads more like a 50+ detective as he stumbles his way onto and along the trail of the murderer of one of his newspaper's delivery people. Parks then adds a conflicted love interest (who happens to be his boss), a palatable medley of background personnel (an unlikely sidekick, illegal immigrants, a black dude, a gay guy, union reps, white-collar snots, and a few Greeks), and binds them together with literary references to Faulkner, Irving, Phillip Roth, and even Caesar.

The slow pace, lackluster developments, and Carter Ross's unrelenting ordinariness led to my initial dismay. Plus Park's wit is distressingly obvious and forced at times, as when Ross gets caught in more ways than one trying to fit his head through a pet entryway. (The reader can see this event and the who-did-it coming from atop Mount Etna.) But I kept reading because both Carter Ross and his pedantic intern Lunky began to grow on me like a harmless but excessively chatty neighbor.

The finest moments involve the main character's dubious intern Lunky, whose deep thoughts seem better suited for a think tank than a local newspaper. I started "getting" this book during the hilarious moments when Lunky reveals his first attempts at journalism and Carter is forced to forego his hands-off tutelage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm hard pressed to choose what I liked most about this book. The writing is so witty and good, it sent little waves of pleasure through me. The hapless wise-guy hero totally charmed me. So did his friends, his girlfriends, and his cat. And the oddball twists and turns of the plot appealed to my love of the absurd.

Carter Ross is an investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle Examiner. When a paper delivery person dies rather young, he sees a chance to do a heartwarming story about a humble employee. Then it starts looking like the hit-and-run that killed Nancy might be no accident.

I guessed the killer's identity pretty early on, and I bet you will too, but I suspect that's the author's intention. The real fun is watching Carter misread clues and walk into traps. He may be an ace investigative reporter, but he's an inept snoop. His one advantage is a bulldog-like determination to sniff out the truth and get the story. Well, it also helps that women find him attractive. And his black and Spanish friends are always ready to help him out.

For a clean-cut white guy in ivy league clothes, Carter is a colorful character. In fact, the novel is heavily seeded with colorful characters. And Newark, New Jersey, a foreign land to me, has a certain exoticism too.

I found this book nonstop entertaining, and I'm recommending it to all my mystery-loving friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Brad Parks is one of the best new mystery writers to come along in the past several years. Not only does he have talent, but he has an original voice that makes his books stand out from the pack. His first two novels were winners (both of awards and cheers from the fans) and his third is no different.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR finds Carter Ross back on the beat, reporting on crime on the streets of Newark, New Jersey. Newark has more than enough crime to keep any dozen reporters busy, but Carter's feeling kind of bored until he comes across an obituary in his own newspaper. One of the paper's carriers was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Carter decides to write a story about her, but when he starts investigating her life, he uncovers details that he never expected to find.

Carter Ross is the best thing going in Parks's books. He's smart, funny and original. Sure he's a bit of a button-down pain in the ass at times, but you have to respect his commitment to telling the truth in his stories, regardless of the cost. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is like the rest of Parks's work: a gritty mystery (although it's not dark), with plenty of humor and even a little sex. All in all, it adds up to a very entertaining story.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is highly recommended as a good read.
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