The year of the Strangler.
William Landay’s second novel, published in 2007, combines the family drama of Defending Jacob with the hard-boiled noir edge of L.A. Confidential.
November 1963. Boston is a city on edge. On street-corners, newsboys hawk the shocking headline Kennedy Is Dead. The West End lies in ruins, razed to the ground to make way for a gleaming new development. In the city’s underworld, a mob war rages. And a phantom killer already known as the Boston Strangler terrifies the city.
This is the world of the Daley brothers: Joe, a hulking cop whose gambling habit drags him down into the city’s underworld; Ricky, a prince of thieves whose latest heist may be his last; and Michael, always the smartest man in the room, a prosecutor in the newly created Strangler Bureau, tasked with hunting down the first serial killer of the TV age.
When a killer—a man who hunts women with brutal efficiency and no sign of stopping—strikes too close to the Daley home, the brothers unite to find the Strangler, a journey through the underworld of a Boston you’ve never imagined.
Praise for The Strangler
Reminiscent of Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River, The Strangler takes us into a dark world where goodness is smothered and villainy thrives … I was completely riveted.
Landay’s skillful, realistic characterization of the brothers makes each one likable and noble in his own fashion. Even the secondary characters are intriguing … But it’s the various plots that make this book a standout. Landay’s deftness in weaving them together without dropping a single thread makes for a terrific read … This is not one to miss.
Kansas City Star
The Strangler may turn out to be the darkest crime novel of the year. And also the best.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Genre fiction, but of a high order … an impressive and satisfying performance
A gripping, atmospheric saga
Wall Street Journal
Expect to see The Strangler on many best-of lists.
Landay’s cutting, sharp dialogue harks back to classic contemporaries, such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but even more to James Ellroy (whose subject matter is similar in dealing with cops, corruption and crime). But where Ellroy works his pen like a surgeon using a scalpel, Landay works through his pages like a gunsel lurking the streets with brass knuckles and a sawed-off shotgun.
Charleston Post & Courier
[Landay has] been touted as the natural successor to George V. Higgins, and I agree. A dense and satisfying novel of crime and retribution.