Detective

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Overview

Hours before he is due to set off on a long-delayed and much-deserved vacation with his wife and son, Det.-Sgt. Malcolm Ainslie takes a phone call he would have been better off ignoring. The caller is the chaplain at Florida State Prison, delivering a message from Elroy Doil, the serial murderer Ainslie helped put on the prison's death row. On the eve of his execution, Doil has asked to make a confession. But there is a condition: he will deliver it only in person to Ainslie.

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Overview

Hours before he is due to set off on a long-delayed and much-deserved vacation with his wife and son, Det.-Sgt. Malcolm Ainslie takes a phone call he would have been better off ignoring. The caller is the chaplain at Florida State Prison, delivering a message from Elroy Doil, the serial murderer Ainslie helped put on the prison's death row. On the eve of his execution, Doil has asked to make a confession. But there is a condition: he will deliver it only in person to Ainslie.

Ainslie has no choice. Doil was convicted of a double murder, but he was suspected in ten more. No homicide detective could turn down the opportunity to close ten murder cases in a single night. What Ainslie learns from the condemned man, however, propels the ex-priest-turned-cop into an investigation that reaches into the most elite levels of his own department and the Miami city government. And it tests as never before his skills as a cop and his character as a man.

Master storyteller Arthur Hailey is legendary for the scrupulously researched authenticity and electrifying realism of his novels, for taking readers inside the places where men and women endure and sometimes crack under the pressures of jobs that shape our lives and world. Bristling with the sights, sounds, and true-to-life details of a contemporary urban homicide division, and with all the narrative suspense that has made him one of the best-selling fiction writers of our time, Detective is the novel Arthur Hailey was destined to write.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Old pro Hailey ("The Evening News"; "Airport" etc.) remains adept at hooking readers with his propulsive brand of storytelling. In this full-throttled thriller, he sweeps readers into a series of gory murders of older married couples in south Florida, the twisted mind of the killer, the intramural politics of the Miami PD and the truly horrible childhood abuse of a major character. Along the way, Hailey finds time for ample musing on the death penalty, Catholicism and the grand jury system. His protagonist is Miami homicide detective Malcolm Ainsley, an ex-priest who spots the clues for the serial murders in the Book of Revelations, successfully picks out the likeliest perp and catches him red-handed. Elroy "Animal" Doil, convicted and on death row, asks Ainsley to hear his confession: Doil insists that, yes, he killed 14 people, but he didn't kill the rich and politically powerful parents of Cynthia Ernst, Ainsley's unforgiving ex-lover and PD superior. There's a bit of flat writing ("the aptly named Sunshine State"), but the execution and child-abuse scenes are searing, the procedural detail gripping. It's a measure of Hailey's skill as a storyteller that he gives up the killer way before the end but still manages to maintain the suspense.
Library Journal
Miami police detective Malcolm Ainslie, a former Catholic priest, is summoned to hear the confession of Elroy Doil, a serial killer he helped put away, hours before Doil's scheduled execution. Ainslie has always had doubts about Doil's involvement in the murder of City Commissioner Gustav Ernst and his wife, whom Doil insists he didn't kill, though he is happy to take credit for all the other murders he was charged with (and a couple he wasn't). This novel by the author of famed potboilers like "The Moneychangers" moves slowly and predictably from here, with Ainslie in charge of a new investigation of the Ernst murders. The characters are flat and uninteresting and the writing so poor as to make slogging through this dull story painful indeed. Not recommended. Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
Hailey ("The Evening News", 1990, etc.) makes a welcome return to form with an effectively twisty thriller.

On the eve of his execution, serial killer Elroy Doil calls in Malcolm Ainslie, the priest turned Miami detective who put him on death row. In a last confession, the doomed man (suspected of fourteen ritual homicides but convicted of only four) confides that, while he committed most of the murders, there are two victims on Ainslie's list that he did not kill. Although happy to clear the books of many gruesome slayings, the cleric (a scholar whose knowledge of the Book of Revelations led him to Doil) is disturbed enough to reopen the case. The odd casualties out are the politically powerful parents of Cynthia Ernst, until recently an aggressive, ambitious policewoman with whom Malcolm (despite being happily married and the father of a small child) had a torrid affair. Patiently sifting through mounds of evidence old and new, he's eventually able to prove the headline-grabbing butchery of the couple was indeed a copycat murder. He also has enough on his erstwhile paramour to get her indicted. This outcome could prove politically as well as personally embarrassing, since vengeful Cynthia has taken her late father's seat on the city's board of supervisors and used her clout to block Malcolm's promotion from sergeant to lieutenant. How Hailey resolves these conflicts while ensuring that the guilty pay makes for a suspenseful windup as effective as it is cynical. There's also a credible turn at the close as the less than saintly Malcolm weighs a career switch.

A police procedural plus, powerfully infused with southern Florida's violent neo-Cuban ambience, and a work that could earn the veteran author a host of new fans.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679774341
  • Publisher: Diversified Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/1997
  • Edition description: Large Type
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.57 (d)

Meet the Author

The author of many best sellers, including Airport, Hotel, The Evening News, Wheels, and The Moneychangers, Arthur Hailey is one of the world's most recognized and successful writers. He lives in the Bahamas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    one of the worse books I ever read -

    wow - what a terrible book - the editor should be fired - 592 pages which could have been written in 200 pages. But it still would have been terrible - the story, characters, nothing was interesting. Talk about dragging out a story that you figured out at about page 175 - oh wait couldn't be that soon he was still describing the police station on page 250 (OK joking but if you read this you know what I mean) - I am in shock this was published. I read the reviews from his other books but there is no way I would even try to read one of them after this flop. I have to ask was this a first novel- maybe from HS? Only saving grace was that I picked it up at a book exchange so I didn't pay for it - should have a warning sign - Don't read -

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    Thought the Timeline was unnecessary

    I thought the story was interesting, but lacking a great twist. In fact I thought the twist was that there wasn't a twist, it was predictable. Still the story was told further than most that I've read from the point that the antagonist is revealed, which I thought was interesting. My issue is with the non linear story telling which I felt unnecessary. It takes approximately 70 pages introducing the protagonist and building up to the first main plot point, at which time we flashback for 200 pages. During that flashback there are flashbacks within the flashback. I like linear better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2002

    suspenseful!

    Couldn't put it down! First of his books I have had the pleasure of reading, very excited about the others! Wonderfully visual, not predictable and clever. Enjoyed the pace, never lost interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2000

    Couldn't put it away

    Arthur Hailey did not disappoint. It is not his best book, but his talent of storytelling is undisputable, and his apparent knowledge of the subject matter is impressive. Highly entertaining, although the numerous detours will annoy your curiosity and keep you reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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