Penance by David Housewright

Penance by David Housewright

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Winner of the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel

A Minneapolis PI investigates the murder of the man who killed his wife

Holland Taylor is comfortable in interrogation rooms. For years the cold dark cells of the St. Paul Police Department homicide squad were his turf, and with the help of his partner he wrung confessions out of countless killers. But that was long ago. Tonight Taylor is on the other side of the desk. Tonight he is the suspect.

Taylor’s career in the department ended after his wife and daughter were killed in a drunk driving accident. The culprit, John Brown, was sentenced to a measly six years for vehicular manslaughter, and Taylor vowed bloody vengeance in front of open court. After a few months of freedom, Brown is shot dead, and Taylor, now a private investigator, is called in as the obvious suspect. He didn’t kill John Brown, but he will find out who did if—even it means tearing the Twin Cities apart from the inside out.


“A surprisingly accomplished first novel with a likable everyman protagonist and a clever plot.” —Booklist

“Impressive tough guy sass . . . an intriguing, darkly pessimistic take on American politics and media.” —Publishers Weekly

“As long as authors like David Housewright build first novels as good as Edgar-winner Penance, readers will come.” —The Armchair Detective

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