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Shot In Detroit Paperback – June 14, 2016
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An assured mystery centering on artistry and the price that can be paid for it.”
"A fresh look at the disintegration of Detroit as seen through the lens of a camera...a detailed account of one woman battling her inner demons against the backdrop of a city that is doing the same."
"Abbott's ability to create living, breathing characters is nothing short of astounding...A spot-on description of a once proud but now struggling city...a compelling snapshot of the human condition."
"An excellent book...Sometimes the best crime fiction can surprise you in ways you didn’t expect, giving you insight not only into the mind of a character but in yourself as well."
Do Some Damage
Praise for CONCRETE ANGEL by Patricia Abbott
"This is a gripping psychological thriller...will draw fans of the late Ruth Rendell as well as Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train."
"With cool, compelling prose, CONCRETE ANGEL reveals the menace that lurks beneath a mother’s charming facade. An absorbing novel by an unusually fine writer.”
Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of CHINA LAKE andTHE MEMORY COLLECTOR
"(An) enthralling, dark debut novel...It’s a potent and at times poignant combination. Those who enjoy suspenseful, atmospheric family drama will find much to love here."
Library Journal (starred review)
"Christine's mother Eve is sharp, beautiful, charismatic... and a murderous sociopath. Their complicated and heartbreaking relationship is explored in CONCRETE ANGEL -- a riveting depiction of family ties and how they can bind, ensnare, strangle."
Alison Gaylin, USA Today bestselling author
"CONCRETE ANGEL is debut novelist Patti Abbott’s exquisitely rendered character study of a manipulative mother over two decades. Eve is a woman obsessed but how will our narrator, Eve’s only daughter, respond as her childhood innocence is taken away? Abbott exhibits a pitch-perfect precision with both language and setting in capturing the tragic world of a mid-century Pennsylvania family."
Edgar Award-winning author Naomi Hirahara
"A fresh, original voice telling a story that's probably, in broad outline if not detail, more common than we know. But what detail! From the opening sentence, a grabber.”
SJ Rozan, Edgar-winning author (as Sam Cabot) of SKIN OF THE WOLF
"The characters in Abbott’s debut novel are fully realized." Kirkus Reviews
"Derringer award winning author Patricia Abbott came up through the hard-boiled online webzines sharpening her skills in a medium that, more often than not, features lurid plots, graphic violence, and twist endings for shock value. Ms. Abbott found her own distinct voice building her storylines on tainted relationships, intricate, emotive reveals and endings, often, with no tidy wind-ups but satisfying conclusions nonetheless. CONCRETE ANGEL is a culmination of her very best and is not to be missed." Criminal Element
"CONCRETE ANGEL is a noir novel unlike anything you've ever read. Abbott has a new voice that's both chilling and shocking."
Sandra Scoppetone, award-winning author of the Lauren Laurano series
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Top Customer Reviews
Violet Hart, the narrator in Patricia Abbott's new novel, Shot in Detroit, seemed at first to be one of these. Hart is an artist obsessed with taking photographs of dead young black men in their coffins. Knowing this I might never have started the book had the author been someone other than Abbott. Even then I hesitated a tad, even still savoring her debut novel, Concrete Angel, which has lit up the crime-fiction community to rave reviews and awards. I've lived long enough to have come to terms with death—of family and friends, natural and violent--and have reached an albeit edgy peace with the inevitability of my own demise, not unreasonably distant down that road we're told we all eventually must walk alone. At the same time morbidity continues to put me off. Grateful Dead to me is the name of a band. It might mean more to some, but not me--I hear the rippling intro to Truckin'. I feel obliged to focus my attention on the potential for growth the statistically brief time left to me has in store. Better busy being born than busy dying, as Bob Dylan sagely advised.
So wouldn't you know, several chapters in, Shot in Detroit started giving me the same creepy feeling I got from the other novel, the one with the sexual fetish serial killer narrator I abandoned. And I wasn't much liking Violet Hart, who seemed a calloused young woman who put her art above all else. She has a mirror on the ceiling above her bed for added dimension to her trysts, which to her seem to have little more significance than carnal quality. But more than not liking her, I wasn't liking what she was doing, taking photos of dead bodies in coffins. It didn't help that she was taking great pains, artistic pains, to preserve these young men in images that greatly interested the owner of a gallery who wanted to feature them in a showing. I found this disturbing, and so did Hart's boyfriend, the mortician who had unintentionally sparked her obsession and, although allowing her to shoot the photos at his funeral home, was growing uneasy about her project.
Something kept me on track, though. Abbott's skill with characters, bringing them alive with yearnings and fears, weaknesses, and strengths, has a way of winning you over, infiltrating your defenses. You start feeling friendly, no matter what they're up to. You sort of want to have their back, help them when they're in a jam. It was Father's Day when I read Shot in Detroit. My own daughter is in Los Angeles, a struggling actress. I'm in Virginia. I worry about her out there. As I read Violet Hart's unsettling narrative I began to wonder why Sarah hadn't called me yet. My paternal instincts were kicking in. They bled unto the pages I was reading.
Soon I was Violet's dad. Her own father had abandoned the family shortly after she was born. Her story was drawing me in as his surrogate. “Stop with this thing about dead bodies,” I more than once almost hollered. “Keep your mouth shut,” I snapped silently while police detectives interrogated her as a suspect in the violent deaths of a couple of young men she knew. I offered unspoken sympathy and gentle advice during her interior monologues when she worried about her decisions and the course her life was taking. “No!!” I'm afraid I might have shouted out loud when it seemed the unthinkable had just happened.
So did I finish Shot in Detroit? Would I have written this review if I hadn't? (I don't review books I've abandoned, even to pan what I've read of them.) Did I like Shot in Detroit? Yes. Speak up, I can't hear you. YES, DAMMIT, I LOVED IT!! Thanks. Oh, did my daughter call? C'mon, you want me to spoil the ending?
She also meets a young man named Derek on Belle Isle. Derek's an artist, too, in his own way, making installations in the park. She asks him to let her know if he finds anything edgy. He finds hands and feet and a torso.
As Abbott would admit, Violet's not a very nice person, but she's not a hateful person. She struggles with what she's doing. Is it art that she's trying to achieve, or is it personal success? Is she exploiting the dead for her own gain, or is there more to it? As her backstory is parceled out over the course of the novel, Violet learns a lot about herself and her past that helps explain both what she's doing and why it's even more important to her than she realizes at first.
Shot in Detroit has scope and ambition. It's one of those books that will stick with you long after you close the covers. Check it out.