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A Witness Above (Frank Pavlicek Mystery Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Andy Straka
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (373 customer reviews)

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Book Description

#1 Bestseller (free) on Amazon * Anthony, Shamus, and Agatha Award Nominee

"Pavlicek is a breath of fresh air in the field of private eye fiction."
--Jeffery Deaver

Over 225,000 copies downloaded/sold!
Thirteen years ago, Frank Pavlicek left the NYPD under less than ideal circumstances. Now, the divorced father of a teenage daughter, he works as a private investigator in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he indulges his passion for falconry – and tries to live outside the shadow of his past.
Frank is hunting with his red-tailed hawk, Armistead, when he finds it. A teenage boy’s body – barely concealed behind a pile of brush in a part of the forest Frank recently visited with his daughter, Nicole. It’s a truly gruesome crime scene – one of the many things Frank doesn’t miss about working homicide in the big city.

But what Frank finds in the dead boy’s wallet is even more disturbing: Nicole’s phone number, scribbled in ink on the edge of a bill. He pockets the evidence and flees. Days later, his daughter is in jail. His past is coming back to haunt him. And his reputation – and life – are on the line…


Originally published by NAL/Signet/Penguin.

Editorial Reviews


Storytelling as sharp and strong as talons. --RICK RIORDAN - #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Aside from good writing, an interesting plot, and the unusual aspect of the falconry, it's nice to see someone come along with a new P.I. who is not drowning in wisecracks. Andy Straka has managed to avoid the more obvious cliches of the genre while continuing to pay, homage to the conventions of it. Straka should be proud. --ROBERT J. RANDISI, Founder, Private Eye Writers of America

About the Author

Andy Straka is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of A Witness Above and five other mysteries in the Frank Pavlicek private eye series as well as several other novels. Featured by Publishers Weekly among ten "rising-stars" in crime fiction, Andy is a licensed falconer, a native of upstate New York, and a longtime resident of Virginia where he co-founded the popular Crime Wave at the annual Virginia Festival of the Book.
Shamus Award Winner
Anthony Award and Agatha Award Nominee
A Witness Above
A Killing Sky
Cold Quarry
The Night Falconer
The K Street Hunting Society
Record Of Wrongs
The Blue Hallelujah

Product Details

  • File Size: 424 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0045JK2XM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,021 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great new P-I series May 9, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Straka's first book in the Frank Pavlicek series offers the reader a variety of adventures. Pavlicek, a former NYC detective, and his former partner(s) resettle with their families in small-town Virginia after being railroaded off the force for their part in a teen's death resulting from a cop shooting. After his marriage fails in the new setting, Pavlicek moves to Charlottesville where he sets up his PI shop, and develops a taste for falconry. Years later when his hunting bird discovers a dead body and Pavlicek spots evidence that apparently connects the deceased black (drug dealing?) teen with his daughter, Pavlicek is thrust back into family life with all the joys of dealing with his alcoholic former wife and rebellious teenage daughter. As evidence mounts against his daughter, Pavlicek's determination increases. Can Pavlicek and his hawk rise to the occasion?
The reader will recognize the genre's familiar one-two punch of a PI and his sidekick (Spenser and Hawk, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, etc.) with Frank and Jake in this book. The dialogue is not as smart-aleck as some, but the traditional tension and repartee between PIs and state and local police is there. Other slices of life Straka tackle include: a young female black district attorney in a small southern town, turf-battling between the local police department, attorneys, and the state trooper, the intrusion of organized crime and gangs into a small, sleepy southern town, the question of the conversion of a drug dealer to Christianity, much local Central Virginia color, and some of the finer shades of difference between falconry with red-tailed hawks and goshawks. A WITNESS ABOVE raises the intelligence level of a good murder mystery a notch.
I really liked this book. It is interesting and has a surprise ending that ties together all the pieces.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Debut PI Novel June 21, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Frank Pavlicek left the NYPD under bad circumstances and set up a PI office in Virginia. He is out falconing one morning when he stumbles, almost literally, on a decomposing body. While looking around before he calls the police, he finds his daughter's phone number in the guy's wallet. But soon, his daughter has been arrested for drug possession, a charge she denies adamantly. With a local sheriff as suspicious of Frank as Frank is of him and a daughter not telling the entire truth, Frank is going to have to work fast to free her and learn the truth.
While I don't normally read PI novels, this one caught my interested because of the falconry aspect. I have no connection to the subject, but I'm always up for learning about something new in books. This story provided some interesting information about the subject without slowing down the story.
And what a great read it was. The characters are all well drawn and easy to care for, and the plot is confusing as well. I had no clue where the story was going until the end.
I will definitely be reading other books in this series. I have to know what happens next to Frank and his friends and family.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written but no real mystery March 7, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
P.I. Frank Pavlicek was a young police officer until a suspicious shooting takes his career away early in the story. Years later he becomes involved in another murder, the second murder would tie into the first. With the two intertwined that really only leaves two suspects. This was a story that I, [being no genius] figured out by the second chapter, then you very well might too. The characters that are introduced into the story as it evolves, are interesting, but if the murderer is apparent, there is no mystery to speak of. .
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising beginning, fascinating falconry June 2, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a big fan of PI novels, and since I'm always looking for something a little different, I picked this book up primarily because the detective was a falconer. Not that I have a particular interest in falconry; it just made the book stand out from the other paperbacks on the rack. And indeed, Frank Pavlicek's hobby was a great component of the story, and I learned a lot. The main story - Frank stumbles upon a corpse, and it turns out his daughter knew the murdered young man - is nicely plotted and suspenseful. My only gripe is that I wish the writing had been a little snappier. Straka has a way to go until he reaches the level of a Pronzini or Grafton. But will I be keeping an eye out for future Pavlicek adventures? You bet.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent P.I. novel.... July 22, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
....and what I hope to be the start of a long running series.
First off I must admit that I'm not very big on the hardboiled subgenre. I do however like mysteries and police procedurals and I also like reading continuing series which feature a regular cast of characters and a returning locale.
A WITNESS ABOVE has a little bit of all the above, although this is only the first in a proposed series and that makes it foremost an introduction, or (as you can maybe call it) a 'pilot', like with a new tvshow.
I'm also glad to say that A WITNESS ABOVE is the first mystery I read in ages which didn't have me figuring out the plot (and the whodunnit) when I was only halfway through. Mister Straka wins tons of bonuspoints with that!
I'm not going to delve into the plot (you'll probably already know about that after reading the contents of this page and the other reviews). I just have to say A WITNESS ABOVE has a great set up, a really good and thought of maincharacter in Frank Pavlicek (it's written in the 'first person' narrative, like all those classic P.I novels before it) and it's an easy read which only cost me a day to get assured!
I give it fours stars because the series can only get better. I noticed A KILLING SKY, the second Pavlicek mystery, has already been released. Mister Straka can count on it that I'll be buying that one also.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I would not personally recommend it to someone of my tastes but fans...
A Witness Above is the beginning of a long running series of private detective mysteries, so in this initial volume the reader gets the backstory for the character of Frank... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Scott Wilcox
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Love PI stories. This is a pretty good one and held my interest.
Published 14 days ago by Jamie
4.0 out of 5 stars A Witness Above
This novel holds your interest all the way to the end. A very good read.
Published 16 days ago by Kathy O
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Start To A Series
This was an interesting story that holds promise for a great series to come. I liked Pavlicek as a main character. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Darcia Helle
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Reading But I Have read Better.
Not a bad book. I have read better. However I enjoyed reading it. Surprising ending. Recommended wet day reading.
Published 23 days ago by Alan
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
This book held my attention from the first few sentences. I love the way it flowed and kept me guessing.
Published 1 month ago by fishingfaye
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
While the basic story is fairly common, the entry of falconry and the history of the former cops lends some interesting story elements. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Matt Schaefer
4.0 out of 5 stars Book review
It held my interest to the end.
Published 1 month ago by Alice Bower
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Suspenseful Surprise
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was equal with other well-known PI series books.
Published 1 month ago by R. Beaty
5.0 out of 5 stars wonder book
Great read. Kept me guessing with twists I did not anticipate. Would recommend to anyone.. It is hard to keep me guessing.
Published 2 months ago by Donna Floyd
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More About the Author

Andy Straka is the author of nine novels, including six books in the Shamus Award-Winning, Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated Frank Pavlicek private eye series. His other novles include RECORD OF WRONGS, hailed by Mystery Scene magazine as "a first-rate thriller," THE BLUE HALLELUJAH, and DRAGONFLIES: SHADOW OF DRONES, the first in a near future science fiction series recently optioned for film and television.

A licensed falconer who has flown Red-tailed hawks and Harris Hawks, Andy is a native of upstate New York. A longtime resident of Virginia, he is also co-founder of the popular Crime Wave at the annual Virginia Festival of the Book.

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