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Faces of the Gone: A Mystery (Carter Ross Mysteries) Hardcover – December 8, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Carter Ross Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Parks's entertaining debut introduces an appealing hero, 31-year-old investigative reporter Carter Ross of the Newark (N.J.) Eagle-Examiner. When the bodies of four men, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, turn up in a vacant lot, Ross doesn't buy the police theory that the quadruple homicide was the result of a bar robbery gone bad. Despite his white upper-class background, Ross works the streets well, if not fearlessly, in his search for a link among the victims. Parks ratchets up the tension by occasionally interjecting the viewpoint of the Director, who orchestrated the slayings. Colorful supporting characters plus Ross's grit and determination keep the story moving at a good clip. Parks, a former print journalist himself, knows his way around a newsroom as the laments for the newspaper industry and the digs at TV reporters attest. Readers are likely to figure out the shadowy Director's identity before the intrepid reporter, but this is a quibble. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

The murder of a single drug dealer in Newark, New Jersey, barely registers as news; but four bodies, shot execution style in a weedy Newark vacant lot, even attracts the New York media. Carter Ross, investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner, begins to pound the pavement, uncovering information that even the cops haven’t found. Then Carter’s modest bungalow in a Newark suburb is bombed, and Carter himself becomes the primary target of the Director, a megalomaniac drug kingpin. Faces of the Gone is an engaging but uneven debut novel by a former reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger. Parks’ writing is graceful and often gripping, and he creates a handful of vivid characters, both journalists and their sources. His portraits of the city and its drug trade, the newspaper, and Carter’s journalistic techniques all sound knowing, though it’s odd that he chose to invent a new federal agency, the National Drug Bureau. Plotting remains something of a problem; his red herrings, in particular, have passed their sell-by date. Still, this could develop into a solid series. --Thomas Gaughan

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Product Details

  • Series: Carter Ross Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312574770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312574772
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Harlan Coben is quoted on the front of Faces of the Gone saying, "Terrific Debut." Actually, Brad Parks' debut crime novel is so terrific that it's one of the best mysteries I've read this year. Faces of the Gone introduces a fresh, attractive protagonist, and a fascinating story.

When four bodies are found shot execution style in an empty lot in Newark, New Jersey, it's a little much even for the cynical media. The story attracts attention from all over, but the police quickly connect the murders to a robbery at a local bar. And, the Newark Eagle-Examiner leads with that story. But, something just doesn't feel right to investigative reporter Carter Ross.

Ross admits he's as WASP as it comes, but he's learned to work the streets of Newark. And, his sources indicate that those four dead people, ranging from a dealer to a dancer who was hustling to feed her kids, had one thing in common. And, it wasn't the robbery of a local bar. But, Ross' new headlines put him dead center in a target for the man behind the murders, a man called "The Director." And, once Carter is faced with losing everything, he's determined to find answers.

Carter Ross is a wonderful addition to the ranks of investigative reporters in crime novels. He's a reporter with a heart, one who has learned to "approach people with respect, listen hard, and genuinely try to understand their point of view." As he talks to family members of the dead, he truly begins to see the "Faces of the Gone." But, at the same time he's skilled at his job, he's hopeless in personal relationships.
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Format: Hardcover
Truth be known, my favorite fiction is set in the urban section of mid-sized cities. Wallace Stroby's stories of north and central Jersey and David Levien's novels that take place in Indianapolis are what I reach for more often than not. But now I have just added FACES OF THE GONE, Brad Parks's debut, to that expanding list.

FACES OF THE GONE is set in Newark, New Jersey, one of America's more interesting, if not picturesque, cities. Parks, who describes himself as "an escaped journalist," was a sportswriter and news feature writer for the Newark Star-Ledger, and his "warts-and-all" descriptions of the city are right on the mark, down to the transitions that Newark goes through on its daily journey into night. Indeed, the impetus behind the novel --- a quadruple, execution-style murder in a vacant lot --- is based on a real-world occurrence that Parks himself investigated. And Carter Ross, the investigative reporter who narrates most of the book, may well be Parks's alter ego.

Driven by compassion for the victims, Ross begins a steadfast investigation into the murders of four people who seemingly had nothing in common other than their brutal ending. The police are quick to wrap up the murders as rough justice for a prior robbery of a local tavern, with the murder victims in the role as the unfortunate and unwise robbers. Ross is not so sure. What he finds is that the victims, all from different parts of the city, had been low-level drug dealers or, in the parlance, "hustlers," selling just enough to eke out a primitive lifestyle but little else. Ross goes far on a combination of instinct, an arrogant self-assurance (which is part bluff), and, yes, some actual sincerity that gains him access to parts of the city that a white, buttoned-down male would not otherwise have.
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Format: Hardcover
A dead body in Newark, New Jersey isn't very news worthy. Unless you are talking about the discovery of four dead bodies left in a vacant lot...now that is front page news.

Carter Ross is an investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle Examiner. When this story lands on Carter's lap, he figures he will just write the story and be done. Once Carter starts digging, he realizes that there is something bigger then four dead bodies. Besides...what does an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a momma' boy all have in common? This is the million dollar question; Carter must find the answer too. Carter will be joined be a unique cast of characters that include...the gay Cuban side kick, the city editor, and the stripper

Faces of the Gone is Mr. Brad Parks's debut novel. He is currently working on Eyes of the Innocent, the next Carter Ross novel.

I thought it was bold that Mr. Parks quit his job before getting a book contract. Luckily for him, it paid off as I enjoyed this book. It is going to be a best seller. You could tell Mr. Parks's brought his knowledge and experience of journalism to the character, Carter. It helped make the story more realistic. I instantly fell for Carter and his big heart. He is a fighter of justice. The wide range of other characters helped keep the story interesting. Plus they were not one dimensional. You knew from the beginning why the people were killed but don't let that fool you as there were some twists thrown in the mix. Can't wait to check out Eye of the Innocent.
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