40 Press


Mysterious Press


Foul Play Press
ISBN 0-88150-341-X


Berkeley Prime Crime
ISBN 0-425-15942-6

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*Winner of the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Mystery

*Nominated for 1996 Shamus Award for Best First Mystery

*Available in Audio Book

Twin Cities gumshoe Holland Taylor is the first to be called in for interrogation when a pivotal figure from his past is found murdered - a man he once threatened in front of a slew of witnesses. Reluctantly taking on the case, Taylor follows a trail that leads to the headquarters of gubernatorial candidate Carol Catherine (C.C.) Monroe. Beautiful and ambitious, C.C. has risen swiftly, helped by the apparent hit-and-run death of her opponent in a congressional race. Now she stands to become Minnesota's first woman governor.

But C.C. has a secret. A former lover with a compromising videotape is out to blackmail her. When C.C. hires Taylor to retrieve the tape, he finds a corpse three days dead in a thoroughly ransacked apartment.

As Taylor's investigations leads him deeper into the tangled web of urban politics, he finds a curious and furtive vulnerability in the candidate beneath her assured, charismatic surface. And when a third murder hits Taylor where it hurts, he becomes committed to a violent course of action that leads him toward an unexpected and decisive confrontation.


As long as authors like David Housewright build first novels as good as Edgar-winner Penance, readers will come. It is a classic private eye story, with lines which sum up the profession's past... This is about as quotable a private eye book as any in recent years. Taylor wisely observes that "...it's a great time to be a private investigator: Nobody trusts anybody." Echoing many of the great eyes of the past, he gives his personal philosophy, an admirable, if cynical one: "I'm not sure I believe in much of anything. Like a lot of people, I make it up as I go along. Mostly, I guess it's a matter of what I can live with." ...in Taylor, Housewright provides a character worth respecting.
--The Armchair Detective (Fall '96)

We're perhaps off the standard private eye track with Housewright's neat and twisty first novel, and it's a step in a refreshing direction... The complex plot machinations are reminiscent of Ross Thomas in their sophistication, intelligence and guile... this is a strong, satisfying first novel; it's quick-pace and no-nonsense protagonist moves us along smartly.
--The Drood Review of Mystery

...the narrative with its settings (St. Paul) and diverse array of characters has great appeal and an air of freshness.... Housewright works it out marvelously well. A second Taylor novel is on its way and to us that's the best news of the month.
--Armchair Detective (Winter '97)

This is a surprisingly accomplished first novel with a likable everyman protagonist and a clever plot... most readers will look forward to Taylor's next case.

...impressive tough guy sass... an intriguing, darkly pessimistic take on American politics and media.
--Publisher's Weekly

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