By a gleaming lake in the forests of western Maine, outside a sleepy little town called Versailles, the body of a man lies sprawled in a deserted cabin. The dead man was an elite D.A. from Boston, and his beat was that city’s toughest neighborhood: Mission Flats.

Now, for small-town police chief Ben Truman — part Maine Yankee, part student of history, and altogether a reluctant young policeman — investigating the murder will mean leaving his quiet, haunted home and journeying to an alien world of mean streets and hard bargains, where the endless struggle between police and criminals is fought for the ultimate stakes.

Ben joins a manhunt through Mission Flats, where cops are scrambling to find their number-one suspect: Harold Braxton, a ruthless predator targeted for prosecution by the murdered D.A. To the Boston police he is a marked man. But as Ben watches the shadow dance of police and suspects, he begins to voice doubts about Braxton’s guilt — especially when he uncovers a secret history of murder and retribution stretching back twenty years — back to a brutal cop killing now nearly forgotten. As past and present come together and a bloody mystery unfolds, only one thing remains certain: the most powerful revelations are yet to come.

Widely hailed as one of the best debut crime novels of 2003, Mission Flats is at once a relentless, page-turning mystery and a vivid portrait of cop life. Here are the streetcorners, courtrooms, and stationhouses; the dealmakers, thugs, and quiet heroes.