The Crime Writer

The Crime Writer

4.2 20
by Gregg Hurwitz
     
 

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Drew Danner , an L.A.-based crime novelist, awakens in a hospital bed with a scar on his head, blood under his nails, and a cop by his side. Accused of murdering his ex-fiancée, Drew has no memory of the crime but reconstructs the story the only way he knows how—as a novel. As he searches the dark corridors of his life and the city he loves, another young

Overview

Drew Danner , an L.A.-based crime novelist, awakens in a hospital bed with a scar on his head, blood under his nails, and a cop by his side. Accused of murdering his ex-fiancée, Drew has no memory of the crime but reconstructs the story the only way he knows how—as a novel. As he searches the dark corridors of his life and the city he loves, another young woman is similarly murdered and Drew must confront the very real possibility of his own guilt. A thrilling piece of contemporary L.A. noir, The Crime Writer is sure to boost Hurwitz’s profile as one of the coming masters of the genre.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Hurwitz's insights about L.A. life sound knowing and are often ruefully funny, e.g., "L.A., where a porn star runs for governor and an action figure wins." Crime fans looking for something different will love this one.

Dennis Lehane
A quantum leap forward in the realm of American suspense literature
Robert Crais
The must-read crime novel of the year. Brilliantly rendered with hip intelligence and fierce originality, this book is a stunner.
Lee Child
Outstanding . . . Hurwitz's previous books—great as they were—look like practice swings before this titanic blast.
Publishers Weekly

Hurwitz's L.A. thriller has noir pulp chutzpah in spades, even if it does start out with a bang and end up shooting blanks. When Andrew "Drew" Danner, a crime novelist, is tried for the murder of his ex-fiancée, Genevieve Bertrand, beside whose body he was found holding a bloody knife, he pleads not guilty. He has no memory of how he got to the crime scene because of a breakdown caused by a recently removed brain tumor. Once he's found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, Danner sets out to find the real killer-or discover some very nasty things about himself. Someone's also trying to frame him for a second murder that appears to be similar to that of Bertrand. Luckily, Danner gets help from old friend Chic, an ex-professional baseball player, and Lloyd Wagoner, a troubled police criminalist. A tense, page-turning first act leads to disappointing explanations involving the police and a misinterpreted phone message. Still, the fast pace and ingenious setup provide considerable tension. Hurwitz (Last Shot) may not have written a California classic, but it's a worthy effort. 5-city author tour.(July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
When crime writer Drew Danner is discovered standing over the dead body of his ex-fiancee, Genevieve, he quickly learns that real murder is a lot messier than the stories he pens. In the latest from Hurwitz (Last Shot, 2006, etc.), Danner wakes up in the hospital and learns two things: He has been accused of Genevieve's murder, and he has had brain surgery for the tumor that obliterated his memory of what happened. At his trial, the district attorney taunts him with his own writings: "I believe, in my darkest heart of hearts, that when fate and passion align, every last one of us . . . is capable of murder." After he is found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, Danner struggles to remember the events leading to Genevieve's death. He can't imagine wanting to kill her, but doubts linger: What if he did do it? When a second woman is murdered and Danner's blood is found at the scene, he digs deeper to find the killer: Is it the convicted rapist whose brown Volvo was spotted at the scene? Is it a copycat killer? Who's trying to set Danner up? Is his own life in danger? With the help of his book editor, Preston, he begins to write down the story. Hector, a teenage graffiti artist in juvenile detention, and Danner's friend Chic help him dig into the case, as does Lloyd, the forensic specialist who has been his source for realistic details in his fiction. Hurwitz's carefully interwoven plot lines and taut writing-as well as his pulsing descriptions of Los Angeles-make for a deeply satisfying read, and the ending, revealed with masterful simplicity, shows the complex desires that make each of us capable of murder. A performance worthy of applause. Agent: Aaron Priest/Aaron M. PriestLiterary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101202241
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/19/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
127,177
File size:
540 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The night was dark and January-sharp. People forget how cool LA can be in the winter—Pacific breeze, Santa Ana winds, angry spates of rain with half-assed lightning, like a constipated monsoon trying to find relief.

A view heals all woes. A view makes you feel as if you own something bigger than yourself, as if you own a place on the planet.

I watched the Valley twinkle in the heat below, like the ocean only prettier because it was a sea of lights, because it was movement and life, because it let me be separate but connected to a thousand people in a thousand houses with a thousand stories, many sadder than my own. The mainline of Sepulveda charging north into worsening demographics. Van Nuys, beautiful only from a distance, where Mexicans play soccer workday mornings, crossing themselves before kickoff as if God cares about the outcome of a hung-over pickup game. The 405, a curved waterfall of white headlights. Ventura moving east past the by-the-hour motels with glam studio names where johns bring broken street kids or vice versa. And around the Cahuenga pass where the city waits, an insatiable and inscrutable mistress, spread on a bed of neon with a Sphinx smile, her just-pounced paws set down on punctured dreams.

I closed my eyes, cruising through Hollywood of the hipsters and wanna-bes, the culture consumers with brand names Roman-lettered across ass velour. Drifted behind the honk-oblivious Cutlass with Arkansas plates doing five miles per hour down the Boulevard as heads inside craned on substantial Southern necks, past black kids rat-a-tat-tatting on overturned white buckets, past peeling German noses, the sticky smell of suntan lotion, intoxicating smog, silver hoops piercing bronze belly buttons, Gap billboards of pop sensations in floppy hats, and up the alleys into real Hollywood, where hookers kneel over pools of vomit and junkies stumble from doorways, scratching their shoulders, mumbling their nighttime song, gotta get well, gotta get well.

Through the run of comedy clubs, where husbands from Wichita laugh at Jesus jokes despite sideways glances from prim-mouthed housewives, where amateurs sweat through sets and maybe, just maybe, after the heard-it-all waitresses clear the second empty glass of the two-drink minimum, that big-name sitcom actor will pop in to work out some new material. Then west to Boys Town where gay couples come in shapes and sizes to defy the limited straight imagination, where soft-porn billboards overlook studded leather window treatments, glowing tarot cards, and tattoo parlors, where lovers sip coffee within scream-shot of porn palaces with purple polystyrene, and parking signs totem-pole atop one another, impervious to comprehension. Past the Urth Café, where washed-up divorcees munch organic lettuce, faces caved from pills and swollen with collagen, a war of fleshy attrition. Down the slick snake of Sunset with its old mansions, its bright and brazen Hustler store, its Carnation lights at the holidays. Through Beverly Hills' runs of palms oft-filmed but never captured, leisure suits riding Segways to Valentino, celebutantes strolling with purse dogs, agents with their invisible cell-phone earpieces mumbling solo outside restaurants and at stoplights, the nattering dispossessed.

Come Westwood, come Brentwood, where three-one-oh moms push symmetrical children in designer strollers through farmer's markets and wax dreamily about Bali hotels. Onward to the Palisades, Santa Monica Canyon, and Malibu, up the sparkling coastline reeking of exhaust and covered with seagull guano, then through the runs of canyons, deep russet pleats like streaks of ore or a woman's folds, the air startlingly crisp and tinged with salt.

My cheeks were wet with the breeze and the swell of my heart for the lights below. Los Angeles. A mirage of a town that sprang up like a cold sweat on the backs of gold diggers and railroad workers, and took form when pirate film distributors, fleeing Edison's patents, took a train and a gamble backed by East Coast muscle.

Los Angeles, land of endless promise. And endless failure. Los Angeles of the petty cruelties. Los Angeles of the instant hierarchy, the spray-on tan, the copped feel. L.A. of the bandaged, post-operative nose, the chai menu, the slander lawsuit. Of the hyphenated job title. The two-SUV garage. L.A. with its wide-open minds and well-formed opinions. L.A. of the high-octane sunset, the warm night air that leaves you drunk. L.A. of the prolonged adolescence, the slow-motion seduction, the ageless, replaceable blonde. L.A. where a porn star runs for governor and an action figure wins. L.A. where anything can happen at any time to some poor schmuck or lucky bastard. Where anything can happen to you.

Where anything had happened to me.

What People are saying about this

Robert Crais
"THE CRIME WRITER is the must read crime novel of the year. Brilliantly rendered with hip intelligence and fierce originality, this book is a stunner. Gregg Hurwitz may well have created a brand-name franchise-and deservedly so."
Brad Meltzer
"It'd be so simple to say that THE CRIME WRITER toys and pokes and jabs with the genre. And of course it does. But by merging author and hero, Hurwitz sharpens a brand-new edge in his voice. An elegant, engaging, and wonderfully human book."
Dennis Lehane
"With THE CRIME WRITER, Gregg Hurwitz has taken a quantum leap forward in the realm of American suspense literature. A thrilling, mind- bending journey, it is also deeply humane and beautifully written. You'll turn the final page with profound regret."
Lee Child
"Outstanding in every way. Hurwitz's previous books - great as they were - look like practice swings before this titanic blast."

Meet the Author

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling author of The Tower, Minutes to Burn, Do No Harm, The Kill Clause, The Program, Troubleshooter, Trust No One, and They’re Watching, among others. His books have been nominated for numerous awards, shortlisted for best novel of the year by International Thriller Writers, nominated for CWA’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, chosen as feature selections for all four major literary book clubs, honored as Book Sense Picks, and translated into twenty languages. In addition to writing novels, Gregg also writes comics for DC and was a consulting producer on ABC’s television series V. He holds a BA in English and psychology from Harvard and a master’s degree from Trinity College, Oxford University. He lives in Los Angeles.

Scott Brick, actor, narrator, and writer, attended UCLA and spent ten years in a traveling Shakespeare company. Passionate about the spoken word, he has narrated a wide variety of audiobooks, from thrillers and science fiction to classics and nonfiction. He has recorded more than six hundred audiobooks and won over fifty Earphones Awards. He has been honored with several Audie Awards and named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.

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The Crime Writer 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
What a great read!

Although it took me a few chapters to get into the story (it's told in alternating real-time and past-tense chapters), this was one thriller that grabs on and never lets go.

I've read other Gregg Hurwitz titles, but THE CRIME WRITER is the first one that had me reading late into the night just to see what happened next. This is one read that definitely keeps you on your toes, and questions everything you think you know about what has happened or what's going to happen.

Definitely recommended -- this one's a winner!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Los Angeles crime writer Andrew ¿Drew¿ Danner wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of how he was found holding a knife and blood is all over him that is not his while his former fiancée Genevieve Bertrand lies dead nearby. Having recently undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor, his short term memory is off. Thus he cannot remember how he came to the crime scene let alone killing Genevieve, but refuses to believe he would murder her as he feels that goes against his natural instincts. --- Drew is found not guilty due to temporary insanity. However, he obsesses with knowing the truth as to whether he committed the homicide as everyone else assumes he did. He makes himself the amateur sleuth in a detective story and begins his investigation. When a second murder similar to the Bertrand homicide occurs, Drew looks guilty, but this time he knows he did not murder anyone. Someone is out to get him by using seemingly innocent people that Drew knows to point the police at him. --- The first part of this exciting thriller may be the best opening ploy in the mystery genre this year. Once the court case is finished, the story line remains strong as readers will want to know whether Drew is capable of killing especially an innocent, but loses some of the momentum as the police become culpable with mistakes in their inquiry. Still Gregg Hurwitz provides an exhilarating tale starring a fascinating beleaguered protagonist who along with the audience wonders if H. Rap Brown¿s famous saying 'violence is American as cherry pie' is true? --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JoeNoir More than 1 year ago
The Crime Writer is not only one of the best crime/mystery novels I've ever read, it's simply one of the best novels I've ever read. I was hooked from the beginning. I know it's a cliché, but I literally did not want to put it down. I also didn't want it to end. I found this novel to be perfectly paced, highly original, and full of twists, with wry insights into modern life in Los Angeles. It's enticing, thrilling, horrifying, and incredibly funny. I had to find out what would happen next. This novel deserves to become a classic of the genre, and Gregg Hurwitz deserves much success.
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happyreader46 More than 1 year ago
slow story hook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AvidReader675 More than 1 year ago
The begining of this book is disjointed and often confusing until several pages into the story you realized that the main character is just as confused and disjointed. If you can make it through the first couple of chapters, you will find that the plot is well thought out and the book entertaining. The ending is somewhat of a surprise and makes the book well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first book from this author but will be looking for more. I didn't get really into right away, though once into it, I was hooked. Some very unexpected (at least to me) twists and turns. Enjoyable...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Imagine waking up in a hospital with no memory and you¿re the lead suspect in a murder investigation of your ex-fiancée. That¿s exactly how ¿The Crime Writer¿ by Gregg Hurwitz begins. When Andrew Drew Danner, a crime novelist, is tried for the murder of his ex-fiancée, Genevieve Bertrand, beside whose body he was found holding a bloody knife, he pleads not guilty. He has no memory of how he got to the crime scene because of a breakdown caused by a recently removed brain tumor. Once he's found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, Danner sets out to find the real killer¿or discover some very nasty things about himself. Someone's also trying to frame him for a second murder that appears to be similar to that of Bertrand. Luckily, Danner gets help from old friend Chic, an ex-professional baseball player, and Lloyd Wagoner, a troubled police criminalist. I am glad I didn¿t read the negative reviews prior to getting the book. This might have dampened my spirits. True, the book has a melancholy narrative but please, Drew is being charged for murder. He¿s not sure if he did it, plus a piece of his brain is floating in a jar. I think the book was set up perfectly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Crime Writer finds Hurwitz exploring a new, more noir-influenced direction in his always impeccably crafted crime stories. His previous work exemplified high-octane action scenes, stunning attention to detail, and fast paced thrills. In the Crime Writer, Hurwitz lets the story breath while soaking in the atmosphere of LA, with some hilarious and insightful depictions in the tradition of Raymond Chandler. The story is a kind of post-modern take on noir and how crime, pop culture, and Los Angeles have been doing their dance since the city's inception. As a crime writer, the novel's protagonist, Drew Danner, finds himself in the middle of a plot straight out of one of his own pot- boilers. As he begins his investigation into clearing his own name, he finds that much of what he thought to be true isn't. He decides the only way to discover the truth is to write his own story, but he finds that he may be in over his head in the real world. The Crime Writer features one of the best hooks in recent memory. The characters, humor, and unfolding mystery make it impossible to put down. Readers looking for an original take on the classic LA noir tradition will love the Crime Writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely horrible completely off the wall and totally unbelieveable