Faces of the Gone (Carter Ross Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview


Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner.  Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another.

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Faces of the Gone (Carter Ross Series #1)

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Overview


Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner.  Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another.

The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter’s paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn’t come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark’s neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this.

Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper’s smoking-hot city editor, to run interference at the office; Tommy Hernandez, the paper’s gay Cuban intern, to help him with legwork on the streets; and Tynesha Dales, a local stripper, to take him to Newark’s underside. It turns out that the four victims have one connection after all, and this knowledge will put Carter on the path of one very ambitious killer.

Faces of the Gone won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel and the Nero Award for Best American Mystery--it is the first book to receive both awards. The book was named to lists of the year's best mystery debuts by the Chicago Sun-Times and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Parks's entertaining debut introduces an appealing hero, 31-year-old investigative reporter Carter Ross of the Newark (N.J.) Eagle-Examiner. When the bodies of four men, “each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head,” turn up in a vacant lot, Ross doesn't buy the police theory that the quadruple homicide was the result of a bar robbery gone bad. Despite his white upper-class background, Ross works the streets well, if not fearlessly, in his search for a link among the victims. Parks ratchets up the tension by occasionally interjecting the viewpoint of “the Director,” who orchestrated the slayings. Colorful supporting characters plus Ross's grit and determination keep the story moving at a good clip. Parks, a former print journalist himself, knows his way around a newsroom as the laments for the newspaper industry and the digs at TV reporters attest. Readers are likely to figure out the shadowy Director's identity before the intrepid reporter, but this is a quibble. (Dec.)
Library Journal
When Newark newspaper reporter Carter Ross tries to uncover the reason why four people were shot execution-style in an empty lot, he digs deep into the city's underbelly and along the way meets a string of vivid characters who could only come from urban New Jersey. VERDICT This is the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money. Former journalist Parks has learned the art of making words flow and dialog zing. Fans of the NFL's Cleveland Browns will find the Brick City Browns street gang an added delight. [Library marketing campaign.]\
Kirkus Reviews
Hungry reporter chases a scoop to die for. Though Carter Ross, an investigative journalist at the Newark Eagle-Examiner, is only 31, he's unabashedly retrograde. He loves the newspaper game with old-school zeal, the kind that sent Stanley scampering off to darkest Africa in search of Dr. Livingstone. Carter's credo-get it fast, but get it right-explains why he has his back up about the way his paper has decided to play Newark's latest big story of multiple murder. Singular murder would hardly rate a snore in one of the busiest homicide capitals in the world, but four corpses gets everyone's attention. Three men and a woman have been found in a vacant lot, executed gangland style, a bullet in the back of each head. A cop's tip has sent the Eagle-Examiner bustling down a path that gives Carter a bad feeling. Instinct, however, is merely instinct, prosaic editors are famous for insisting. The burden of proof is on Carter, who must turn detective if he wants to set the record straight. What linked the unfortunate four? Why was that connection so unsettling to someone so obviously powerful? And who signed the four death warrants? Ace reporter/bulldog sleuth Carter will sniff out the answers if it kills him. Which it almost does, of course. A first novel with a seriously overstuffed plot but a very engaging hero.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Journalist Brad Parks' commanding, entertaining debut featuring an investigative reporter briskly delves into the politics of drug dealing, the value of street reporting and an insider's look at the newspaper industry.
Faces of the Gone skillfully mixes a gritty hard-boiled mystery with swatches of broad humor that perfectly captures the newsroom culture.

Carter Ross is the appealing 31-year-old investigative reporter for the Eagle-Examiner in Newark, N.J. He relishes getting out of the office and onto the streets that he knows well. When four people are killed execution style, their bodies dumped in a vacant lot, Carter refuses to believe the police reports that this was the result of a bar robbery. The story is front-page news even for a city "as blood-jaded as Newark." An honest, concerned reporter, Carter works to find the link between the four people.

Alternating chapters that focus on a drug lord who calls himself "the Director" further fuels the tension. Faces of the Gone illustrates life in Newark's inner city without cliches, showing the differences between the urban neighborhoods and the suburbs where Carter grew up. Scenes with the victims' families, especially a mother who knew her daughter's flaws but still believed in her, are heart-breakingly accurate.

As he works the story, Carter also immerses himself in the little intrigues, banter and personalities of the newsroom. Carter loves his profession and "is incurably ink-stained." Like other newspapers, Carter's Eagle-Examiner has its struggles but the staff is committed to covering the area. Parks also gleefully shows the friction between newspaper and TV reporters jockeying for the better stories.

Carter is an engaging character with more personality layers for the readers to uncover, making him ripe to carry a series. Although he comes from an upper-class background, Carter relates well to those in the inner city. But Parks doesn't make Carter an unrealistic superhero - he's just a reporter who has uncovered an amazing story. Supporting characters - both in the newsroom and on the street - add substance.

Parks' Faces of the Gone ranks with Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow in its depiction of the newspaper industry. Parks, a former reporter at the Star-Ledger in Newark, shows he''s made the transition to becoming a novelist with this impressive debut.

— Oline H. Cogdill

From the Publisher
"Brad Parks [has] delivered a first-rate crime thriller....Faces of the Gone is gritty and hard boiled, but with a sly sense of humor. This strong and confident debut is sure to make an appearance on many 'best of' and awards lists. Parks is a bright new talent whom readers will hopefully be able to enjoy for years to come."—David J. Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times

"This is the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money. Former journalist Parks has learned the art of making words flow and dialog zing. Fans of the NFL's Cleveland Browns will find the Brick City Browns street gang an added delight."—Library Journal (starred review)

 

"The story and characters make Faces of the Gone a success; the plot plays out with twists, and the characters are drawn with realism. Parks has begun his projected series with a bang."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

 

"This terrific page-turning debut features a likeable protagonist, engaging supporting characters and some witty and amusing dialogue. Readers will want to see where this compelling tale takes them."—RT BOOKreviews (4 stars)

 

"Parks' writing is graceful and often gripping, and he creates a handful of vivid characters, both journalists and their sources. His portraits of the city and its drug trade, the newspaper, and Carter's journalistic techniques all sound knowing....this could develop into a solid series."—Booklist

 

South Florida Sun-Sentinel - Oline H. Cogdill
Journalist Brad Parks' commanding, entertaining debut featuring an investigative reporter briskly delves into the politics of drug dealing, the value of street reporting and an insider's look at the newspaper industry.

Faces of the Gone skillfully mixes a gritty hard-boiled mystery with swatches of broad humor that perfectly captures the newsroom culture.

Carter Ross is the appealing 31-year-old investigative reporter for the Eagle-Examiner in Newark, N.J. He relishes getting out of the office and onto the streets that he knows well. When four people are killed execution style, their bodies dumped in a vacant lot, Carter refuses to believe the police reports that this was the result of a bar robbery. The story is front-page news even for a city "as blood-jaded as Newark."

An honest, concerned reporter, Carter works to find the link between the four people.

Alternating chapters that focus on a drug lord who calls himself "the Director" further fuels the tension.

Faces of the Gone i

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429987127
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Series: Carter Ross Series , #1
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 133,451
  • File size: 282 KB

Meet the Author

Brad Parks

Brad Parks is a Shamus and Nero Award winner. He spent a dozen years as a reporter with The Washington Post and The [Newark, N.J.] Star-Ledger. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he lives with his wife and two small children in Virginia, where he is currently working on the next Carter Ross adventure.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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(11)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the year's best debuts

    Discovering a promising new writer is one of the real joys of reading. It's part of the excitement that keeps us going back to the bookstore time and again, even though we inevitably suffer our share of disappointments. There's no need to worry with author Brad Parks, however, as he's delivered a first-rate crime thriller.

    Although FACES OF THE GONE is Parks' first novel, his prior career as a journalist well prepared him for this engaging story of Carter Ross, a reporter for the (fictional) Newark Eagle-Examiner. A quadruple homicide is front page news even in crime-ridden Newark, and Ross is determined to pursue the story no matter the cost.

    FACES OF THE GONE is gritty and hard boiled, but with a sly sense of humor. This strong and confident debut is sure to make an appearance on many "best of" and awards lists. Parks is a bright new talent whom readers will hopefully be able to enjoy for years to come.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    After they are gone

    FACES OF THE GONE BY Brad Parks is one of the books that was considered for an Edgar Award as best first novel. This book is set in Newark, NJ, certainly one of the least salubrious locations I can think of. Parks does not try to make the city something other than it is so Newark, with all its poverty and crime, is a character in the story.

    The story opens with the execution style murders of four drug dealers who are killed at one of the many vacant lots in the city. The bodies are left in the open so they will be found quickly. "Because punishing the four dealers - all of whom had strayed and broken a vital clause in their contract- wasn't enough. It had to be made clear to the others in the organization, especially those who might consider straying themselves, that this was the price for disobedience."

    The "Director" wanted maximum publicity and he knew leaving four bodies together would attract the attention of the media whereas one or two might escape notice. Carter Ross, the investigative journalist of the Newark Eagle -Examiner disagrees with the senior reporter and the editor of his paper. They are convinced that the four were involved in the robbery of a nearby bar but Carter thinks that is too simple an explanation. The four had all been in prison and, upon leaving, had begun careers as heroin dealers. But they worked in distinctly different areas of the city. There didn't seem to be anything to connect them.

    As Carter investigates and becomes involved with the families of the dead, he learns about lives that never got started and a life that had promise but got badly derailed. Events take a decidedly frightening turn when Carter's house is blown up and the homes of the people who gave him information for his article are torched. In that the nearly simultaneously incidents take place within a couple of hours of the story hitting the street, Carter realizes that he has made an enemy of someone who has a clear channel to the newspaper.

    Carter Ross might as well be a man from another planet in the neighborhoods of Newark. The product of prep school and Amherst College, the street life is foreign to him but Carter is a man who likes his job and likes getting the stories of people who are victims out to the reading public. Carter believes in the power of the press as an instrument of good and works the story no matter where it takes him.

    The relationships between the characters make for a good story especially Carter's relationship with his editor, Tina, who seems to see Carter as the perfect father for the baby she is desperate to have.

    The book is funny especially when the story centers on Carter's meeting with the Brown Gang who have given up dealing drugs in favor of bootleg movies.

    Parks is working on the second book of the series and I look forward to reading it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    Reading over half of a novel while hyped up on cough drops and m

    Reading over half of a novel while hyped up on cough drops and missing a night’s sleep because you’ve been traveling for approximately 20 hours, as you fly into and out of Chicago (in the middle of a winter storm) and out of Boston (before the big one hits) and you end up being stuck on parked planes for a total of three hours (added up from two occasions) and add a Las Vegas redeye to your traveling regime may not have been the best course of action for my retention ability, but FACES OF THE GONE managed to help me keep my sanity, prevented me from screaming at gate agents and flight attendants and fellow travelers and relentless chatterboxes and unhappy babies and also kept me from hurling myself out of a plate glass window and onto the tarmac in front of a 737. So it has that going for it.

    Carter Ross may suck at relationships and cry in front of female companions with virtually no provocation, but he still manages to have a certain charm and debonair nature, even if he has trouble getting laid from a woman who wears a biological clock around her left wrist. And he may not always know where the story is going, but he can expertly run in place or skip a meal or two if it gets him a little closer to the prized front page. He may not always have the best way of communicating either, along with a few of his companions and colleagues, but at the end of the day he’s still the best man for the job.

    Even if he manages to get himself in the middle of some serious crap, he’s not about to back up or back down. He injects a bit of wit in Newark, instead of the current drug of choice, and he finds himself amidst a cast of characters that need little introduction. If I ever find myself on the streets of Newark, I’ll barrel through stoplights and intersections in an armored vehicle with bulletproof glass and an MK47 riding shotgun.

    The story didn’t click for me right away, but once I shoved my hand in The Stuff, I managed to find my high just fine and even found myself enjoying the ride, despite the traveling situation that had developed between Massachusetts and New Mexico. Stuffing your carryon full of books helps ease this pain tremendously.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2013

    Lorrie

    Glad to have found this author. Hope his other books in this series are just as entertaining

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  • Posted June 19, 2012

    Recommend for a new author

    I keep reading the same authors and saw that this new book was by a Virginian, so gave it a try. Was really pleased. I read mysteries all the time, but do not think I have read one about a reporter. Enjoyed it, good fast read and good plot. Will definitely read his second book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Loved it!

    I had to read this as an assignment for school and thought it would be a bore! This book turned out to be a suspenseful page turner! Definitely a must read!

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    wow

    an incredible first novel by Parks. i cant wait to see what carter ross has got in store next

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Thrilling!

    I liked this story. Maybe because I live very close to Newark, I feel like I was one of characters on this book.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    Good Debut

    Fast moving story, thoroughly likable hero. A little light as far as being thrilling but well written plot. Good start and hoping his next book will be even better.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The lead pairing of the reporter vs. the Director makes for an enjoyable fast-paced investigative thriller

    In Newark four men were assassinated with a bullet to their respective head and left in an empty lot. The cops assume the mass murders are connected to a robbery at a nearby bar. The media jumps on what the cops tell them.

    Thus Newark Eagle-Examiner investigative reporter Carter Ross sees the killings in his paper. He disagrees with the official take and begins to work the streets. The four victims seem to have no connection beyond living in Jersey. He has editor Tina Thompson, Cuban-American intern Tommy Hernandez and stripper Tynesha Dales to assist him as one of the victims was an exotic dancer. Still he struggles to connect the dots and is unaware the Director is watching the thirty something journalist.

    The lead pairing of the reporter vs. the Director makes for an enjoyable fast-paced investigative thriller with ironically the audience identifying the killer before the cops or the journalist can. From the opening mass murder scene until the final confrontation that fans anticipate, Faces of the Gone is action-packed throughout as the Director continues his gruesome business patiently waiting for Carter and his team to stumble onto who he is.

    Harriet Klausner

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    Posted September 8, 2013

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