Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Book Review: SORROW'S ANTHEM by Michael Koryta

Sorrow's Anthem

Title: Sorrow's Anthem (MP3 audio version)
Author: Michael Koryta, narrator Scott Brick
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Read (listened to): January 02-14, 2013

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Once Lincoln Perry and Ed Gradduk were friends. Then Perry became a cop, Gradduk turned dangerous, and their friendship imploded. Now, Gradduk is dead. And Perry wants to use his PI license to prove that whatever else his childhood friend might have been, he wasn't a murderer.

For the police, this case is over. The woman Gradduk is alleged to have killed can't tell her side of the story, and the building she entered with him has burned to the ground. But Perry is making connections to a wave of arson that struck Cleveland seventeen years ago—fires that lit up the dark secrets of two families, a local powerbroker, and at least one crooked cop. Now Perry and his partner can see ties between the past and present, between innocents and criminals—and sirens that keep playing...

My thoughts:

All throughout his childhood, Ed Gradduk has been Lincoln Perry’s best friend. Then, several years ago, in an attempt to help him, Lincoln made a decision which left the two friends estranged and make Lincoln a pariah on his own home turf. Now Ed is back and in trouble again, accused of arson and murdering a woman. Convinced that his old friend is incapable of such a heinous crime, Lincoln is trying to reach out to Ed in an effort to make amends. But more powerful forces are at play, and Ed is run down and killed by police before Lincoln has a chance to talk to him. Certain that Ed was set up for the crime, Lincoln sets out to clear Ed’s name, uncovering a world of crime and corruption and getting in the way of some of the city’s most powerful men.

This is the second Lincoln Perry mystery (audio version) I have listened to (I seem to be reading them in reverse order) and I enjoyed it as much as A Welcome Grave. Diving into the city’s dark underworld, Koryta has once again set the scene for a fast-paced, intelligent and dark thriller featuring the PI team Perry and his partner, veteran ex-policeman Joe Pritchard, who were first introduced in Koryta’s award winning novel Tonight I said Good-Bye (which I have yet to read). I loved the author’s explanation for the title of the book, named after the sorrowful cacophony of sirens from the different emergency services vehicles on the scene of an accident – how apt!

For such a young author, Koryta shows amazing insight into regrets of the past, loss and personal sacrifice, expressed by Lincoln’s melancholy reflections about his childhood and lost friendship with Ed Gradduk. Lincoln Perry is the perfect PI – an ex-cop, a loner, a man with a past and a man who feels strongly about justice and is not afraid to fight for it and risk his own life for the sake of uncovering the truth. He and Joe Pritchard make a strong pair, with Joe, the older and wiser partner, offering a word of caution and reigning Lincoln in when he gets swept away in the heat of the investigation. Their personalities complement one another, setting a strong groundwork for many more books to come.

I listened to the audio version of this novel as part of the 2013 Audio Book Challenge. The narrator Scott Brick  (who also narrates Koryta’s other novels) does a great job giving life and personality to the different characters, which made listening to the audio book a pleasure. His somewhat dry and melancholy voice perfectly fitted a reflective Lincoln Perry, who is coming to grips with past grief and loss.

The book is also part of the 2013 What's In A Name Reading Challenge - read a book with an emotion in the title - sorrow.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy novels in the style of Dennis Lehane, Lee Child and Harlan Coben.

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