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Chris High books reviewed

Play Dead by Richard Montanari

Publisher: William Heinemann
ISBN: 978-0-434-01602-0
August 14, 2008

Image: Front cover of the book 'Play Dead' by Richard Montanari.

Since exploding onto the scene with his first UK outing, The Rosary Girls, in 2005, Richard Montanari has gone from strength to strength. Now, with his fourth Byrne / Balzano outing, Play Dead, his reputation is likely to be set in stone – or written in blood – alongside the likes of Connelly, Slaughter and Ellroy.



It is the Philadelphia detective’s first assignment with the city’s Cold Case squad … the brutal murder of a young runaway, Caitlan O’Riordan, who was found carefully posed in a glass case in Philadelphia’s desolate Badlands. Following a seemingly helpful phone call, Byrne and Balzano are sent on a scavenger hunt that eventually uncovers a second victim and so starts the killers twisted game in earnest.

The beauty of Montanari’s writing lies in the way he manages to describe events without the reader ever feeling the need to slam the book shut in revulsion. His prose are as tight as the proverbial drum, his sense of place faultless and his dialogue so naturally snappy, especially between Byrne and Balzano, that each player becomes a mass of solid flesh in the minds of those taking their words to heart.

With a sense of vitality seeping through every sentence and with more twists than a Chinese Acrobat, Play Dead is guaranteed to cause sleepless nights aplenty.




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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