Some cases test a private investigators wits, others test his courage, and still others, his character. In Salvation Boulevard, P. I. Carl Van Wagener has found a case that tests them all, and then goes on to test his soul. A professor is dead and a suspect-who has confessed-is in custody. But nothing is what it seems. After all, the dead man is an atheist professor, the accused an Islamic foreign student, the defense attorney a Jew, and the detective a Born Again Christian. As Carl gets deeper and deeper into the investigation of the death of professor Nathaniel MacLeod, his most basic beliefs and relationships are tried and his world is turned upside down. The mega-church, the pastor, and his new wife who have redeemed Carl from a life of grim debauchery insist on his dropping the case. But he cant stop searching for the real killer and the truth-no matter what the personal cost. Salvation Boulevard is a page-turning thriller in the tradition of John Grisham and Richard Condon that grapples with the ecstatic and entropic nature of religious faith in contemporary America.
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(236mm x 156mm x 33mm)
Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
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US Kirkus Review »
A born-again Christian private eye's faith is shaken to the core when he takes the case of the Muslim student suspected of killing his atheist professor."The despair an atheist must feel is unimaginable to a believer," says Pastor Paul Plowright of philosophy professor Nathaniel MacLeod's suicide. Cogent as this pious argument might be - certainly MacLeod's in no position to refute it - it goes out the window with the news that MacLeod's magnum opus, a proof that God does not exist, has gone missing; his despairing suicide was actually murder. Recovering smartly, the authorities arrest Ahmad Nazami, 21, a Persian-born U.S. citizen they label a jihadist, and beat a confession out of him. Ahmad's lawyer, Manny Goldfarb, responds by calling in Carl Van Wagener, an ex-cop investigator who's a stalwart member of Plowright's supersized congregation, the Cathedral of the Third Millennium. Or maybe not so stalwart, since Carl's easily tempted from the side of his helpmeet Gwen by the flirtatious wiles of MacLeod's widow. Should Ahmad be tried in the state system or turned over to the feds? How much does Carl owe his old friend Manny and his scared client? When rumors arise that Plowright's up to his crucifix in the case, whom can Carl believe? Does Gwen owe him the unquestioning loyalty prescribed by St. Paul, or does she need to be subject to him only when he's subject to Pastor Paul? And what sort of loyalty does Carl owe Gwen if he thinks she set up his run-in with hired killers? Satirist/scold Beinhart (Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin, 2005, etc.) keeps leaping from one moral conundrum to another, each weightier and more abstract than the last.Too top-heavy with unassimilated questions to work as a novel of ideas, with a mystery whose solution is too obvious for a genre piece, Beinhart's overheated curiosity still delivers many pleasures from both genres. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Larry Beinhart
Larry Beinhart is best known as the author of "Wag the Dog" (originally published as "American Hero") on which the film starring Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson and Woody Harrelson was based. His "No One Rides for Free" (1986) received the 1987 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. His most recent book, "Fog Facts," a work of nonfiction, examines why some important, even striking, truths are overlooked by the media and the culture at large. Beinhart spent two years in Oxford, England, where he was the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellow at Wadham College. He is a regularly featured blogger on Huffingtonpost.com and his articles have appeared in the "New York Times," the "International Herald Tribune," the "Los Angeles Times," the "Washington Post," the "Baltimore Sun," and the "Chicago Tribune." He resides in Woodstock, New York, with his wife and two children.