The Front (Win Garano Series #2)

The Front (Win Garano Series #2)

3.5 180
by Patricia Cornwell

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When Patricia Cornwell introduced a quicksilver, cut-to-the-bone style and extraordinary cast of characters in At Risk, the result was electrifying. Now, America's #1 bestselling crime writer returns with an audacious new adventure.

View the trailer for "Patricia Cornwell's The Front", premiering on Lifetime on April 10, 2010.

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 See more details below


When Patricia Cornwell introduced a quicksilver, cut-to-the-bone style and extraordinary cast of characters in At Risk, the result was electrifying. Now, America's #1 bestselling crime writer returns with an audacious new adventure.

View the trailer for "Patricia Cornwell's The Front", premiering on Lifetime on April 10, 2010.

Watch a Video

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] classically written crime novel...sure to please."
-USA Today
Publishers Weekly

In Cornwell's latest mystery thriller, the celebrated author's At Risk team pairs up once again to tackle a loose association of police departments known as the Front. With a powerful stage presence and a voice that captivates for hours, Kate Reading delivers a home-run performance that captures the essence and authority of Cornwell's prose. Reading, whose name tells us exactly what she's best at, leaps into character in this understated yet creatively nuanced reading that is both honest and entertaining. She understands just how to bring Cornwell's words to life and does so with great passion. A Putnam hardcover (reviewed online). (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Win Garano Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


Win Garano sets two lattes on a picnic table in front of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. It's a sunny afternoon, mid-May, and Harvard Square is crowded. He straddles a bench, overdressed and sweaty in a black Armani suit and black patent-leather Prada shoes, pretty sure the original owner of them is dead.

He got a feeling about it when the saleslady in the Hand-Me-Ups shop said he could have the "gently worn" outfit for ninety-nine dollars. Next she pulled out suits, shoes, belts, ties, even socks. DKNY, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Hermes, Ralph Lauren. All from the same celebrity whose name I can't tell you, and it occurred to Win that not so long ago, a wide receiver for the Patriots got killed in a car wreck. One eighty, six feet tall, muscular but not a moose. In other words, Win's size.

He sits alone at the picnic table, more self-conscious by the moment. Students, faculty, the elite-most of them in jeans, shorts, carrying knapsacks-cluster at other tables deep in conversations that include very few comments about the dull lecture District Attorney Monique Lamont just gave at the Forum. No Neighbor Left Behind. Win warned her it was a confusing title, not to mention a banal topic for such a prestigious political venue. She's not going to appreciate that he was right. He doesn't appreciate that she ordered him here on his day off so she could boss him around, belittle him. Make a note of this. Make a note of that. Call so and so. Get her a coffee. Starbucks. Latte with skim milk and Splenda. Wait for her outside in the heat while she hobnobs inside the air-conditioned Littauer Center.

He sullenly watches her emerge from the brick building escorted by two plainclothes officers from Massachusetts State Police, where Win is a homicide detective currently assigned to the Middlesex County District Attorney's detective unit. In other words, assigned to Lamont, who called him at home last night and said effective immediately he's on leave from his regular duties. I'll explain after my lecture at the Forum. See you at two. No further details.

She pauses to give an interview to the local ABC affiliate, then to NPR. She talks with reporters from The Boston Globe the AP, and that Harvard student, Cal Tradd, who writes for the Crimson, thinks he's from The Washington Post. The presses loves Lamont. The press loves to hate her. No one is indifferent to the powerful, beautiful DA-today, conspicuous in a bright green suit. Escada. This year's spring collection. Seems she's been on quite the shopping spree of late, a new outfit practically every time Win sees her.

She continues talking to Cal as she walks confidently across the brick plaza, past massive planters of azaleas, rhodendrons, and pink and white dogwoods. Blond, blue-eyed, pretty-boy Cal, so cool and collected, so sure of himself, never flustered, never frowns, always so damn pleasant. Says something while scribbling on his notepad, and Lamont nods, and he says something else, and she keeps nodding. Win wishes the guy would do something stupid, get himself kicked out of Harvard. Flunking out would be even better. What a friggin' pest.

Lamont dismisses Cal, signals for her plainclothes protection to give her privacy, and sits across from Win, her eyes hidden by reflective gray-tinted glasses.

"I thought it went well." She picks up her latte without thanking him for it.

"Not much of a turnout. But you seemed to make your point." He says.

"Obviously, most people, including you, don't grasp the enormity of the problem." That flat tone she uses when her narcissism has been insulted. "The decline of the neighborhoods is potentially as destructive as global warming. Citizens have no respect for law enforcement, no interest whatsoever in helping us or each other. This past weekend I was in New York, walking through Central Park, and noticed a backpack abandoned on a bench. Do you think a single person thought to call the police? Maybe consider there could be an explosive device inside it? No. Everyone just kept going, figuring if it blew up, it wasn't their problem as long as they didn't get hurt, I suppose."

"The world is going to hell, Monique."

"People have slipped into complacency, and here's what we're going to do about it," she says. "I've set the stage. Now we create the drama."

Every day with Lamont is drama.

She toys with her latte, looks around to see who's looking at her. "How do we attention? How do we take people who are jaded, desensitized, and make them care about crime? Care so much they decide to get involved at a grass-roots level? Can't be gangs, drugs, carjackings, robberies, burglaries. Why? Because people want a crime problem that's, let's be honest,' front-page news but happens to others, not to them."

"I wasn't aware people actually want a crime problem." He notices a skinny young woman with kinky red hair loitering near a Japanese maple not far from them. Dressed like Raggedy Ann, right down to her striped stockings and clunky shoes. Saw her the other week, in downtown Cambridge, loitering around the courthouse, probably some petty crime like shoplifting.

"An unsolved sexual homicide," Lamont is saying. "April fourth, 1962, Watertown."

"I see. Not a cold case this time but a frozen one," he says, keeping his eye on Raggedy Ann. "I'm surprised you even know where Watertown is."

In Middlesex County, her jurisdiction-along with some sixty other modest municipalities she doesn't give a damn about.

"Four square miles, population thirty-five thousand, very diverse ethnic base," she says. "The perfect crime that just so happens to have been committed in the perfect microcosm for my initiative. The chief will partner you up with his lead detective& You know, the one who drives that monstrous scene truck. Oh, what is it the call her?


"That's right. Because she's short and fat."

"She has a prosthesis, a below-the-knee amputation," he says.

"Cops can be so insensitive. I believe the two of you know each other, from the little grocery store around the corner from where she works a second job. So that's a good start. Helps to be friends with someone you're going to spend a lot of time with."

"It's an upscale gourmet shop, and it isn't just a second job, and we're not friends."

"You sound defensive. The two of you go out, maybe not get along? Because that could be a problem."

"Nothing personal between us, never even worked a case with her," Win says. "But I think you have, since Watertown has plenty of crime and she's been around as long as you have."

"Why? Has she talked about me."

"Usually we talk about cheese."

Lamont glances at her watch. "Let's go to the facts of the case. Janie Brolin."

"Never heard of her."

"British. She was blind, decided to spend a year in the States, chose Watertown, most likely because of Perkins, probably the most famous school for the blind in the world. Where Helen Keller went."

"Perkins wasn't located in Watertown back in the Helen Keller days. It was in Boston."

"And why would you know trivia like that?"

"Because I'm a trivial person. And obviously you've been planning this drama for a while. So why did you wait until the last minute to tell me about it?"

"This is very sensitive and must be handled very discreetly. Imagine being blind and realizing there's an intruder inside your apartment. That horror factor and something far more important. I think you're going to discover she very well may have been the Boston Strangler's first victim.

"You said early April 1962?" Win frowns. "His alleged first murder wasn't until two months later, in June."

"Doesn't mean he hadn't killed before, just that earlier cases weren't linked to him."

"How do you propose we prove the Janie Brolin murder-or the Strangler's other thirteen alleged murders, for that matter-was committed by him, when we still don't know who he was?"

"We have Alberto DeSalvo's DNA."

"No one's ever proved he was the Strangler, and more to the point, do we have DNA from the Janie Brolin as for comparison?"

"That's for you to find out."

He can tell by her demeanor there's no DNA and she damn well knows it. Why would there be, some forty-five years later? Back then, there was no such thing as forensic DNA or even a thought that there might be someday. So forget proving or disproving anything, as far as he's concerned.

"It's never too late for justice," Lamont pontificates-or Lamonticates, as he calls it. "It's time to unite citizens and police in fighting crime. To take back our neighborhoods, not just here but worldwide. "We're going to create a model that will be studied everywhere."

Raggedy Ann is sending text messages on her cell phone. What a whack job. Harvard Square's full of them. The other day, Win say some guy licking the sidewalk in front of the Coop.

"Obviously, nothing about this to the press until the case is solved. Then, of course, it comes from me. It's too hot for May," she complains, getting up from the picnic table. Watertown tomorrow morning, ten sharp, the chief's office."

She leaves her barely touched latte for him to dutifully toss in the trash.

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From the Publisher
"[A] classically written crime novel...sure to please."
-USA Today

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Front (Win Garano Series #2) 3.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 180 reviews.
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
I waited for this Cornwell book to come out in paperback because I have gotten tired of paying hardback prices for the drek she has been pumping out the past few years. My caution was rewarded. This novel is awful. The writing is terrible, the set-ups and incidents unbelievable and the plot is like something out of a high-school creative writing class. I give up. I've been a fan of Cornwell's from the beginning, but I won't buy another Cornwell book, hard bound or paper. She has become just a dreadful author, incapable of putting a coherent, believable and well-written novel together.
PurplePalmtreesMS More than 1 year ago
Ms Cornwall has lost a lot of fans with this one - including me. The story is bland, devoid of all the meat and potatoes that Ms Cornwall usally gives her readers. It's made to cater to today's bland mentalities who are looking to read a fast-paced book for their fast-paced lives because they have no time or patience to sit down to a good book. Her style has changed so drastically that when I finally put the book down, I shed a few tears - for her, for her having compromised her unique and incredible style of writing just to capture a new type of audience. Forgive me, Patricia, but I sincerely pray you come to your senses soon. If you need more inspiration in order to keep within your normal style of writing, then ask your readers - I'm sure we can come up with more than enough suggestions to keep you going. I bought the book expecting the same satisfaction I always got from reading your books and I was truly let down and disappointed as I'm sure other fans of yours are also. Your are a great writer - don't lose it...
Toastmaster More than 1 year ago
Was hoping for more from her, not the same standard as most of her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Someone has kidnapped Patricia Cornwell and tried to write as her. That's the only explanation for this garbage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid Patricia Cornwell reader 'and admitted Kay Scarpetta admirer', I admit I was a bit skeptical about giving a new lead character other than Scarpetta a chance 'Andy Brazil et al. just didn't intrigue me like Scarpetta, Lucy, Marino, etc.'. That said, I finished At Risk on a flight to Denver not long ago, and I was so impressed, I went to Ms. Cornwell's Web site to see what other new things she was working on. 'She was and is one of my favorite authors, along with Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, and R.A. Salvatore.' I've read all of her other novels. I received my review copy of The FRONT a couple of days ago and finally had time to read it today. I became engrossed and spent several hours this evening thoroughly enjoying the story. Like At Risk, The FRONT is concise yet incredibly detailed. The cast of characters 'including Win Guarano, Monique Lamont, et al.' established in At Risk are even more fleshed out in The FRONT. Win's one of the most engaging lead characters in any series I've read, including the Scarpetta series. None of Ms. Cornwell's work is predictable, but I think getting across a truly intelligent, well-thought-out story in such a short format is a challenge. Sometimes lesser authors stretch similar concepts into full novel-sized works with lots of filler text that just serves to water down the story and detract from the overall experience. Although sometimes tinged with political undertones, the undertones help more to define the characters than to serve as an abrasive political message -- I wouldn't enjoy the story as much if they were overly political. The FRONT is a well-paced, original story that is a fun read. Expect to not stop reading it once you start.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will not disappoint!!! The mystery is so detailed and in -your-face that you actually feel as if your in the book alongside Win & Lamont. I could not put this book down - i read it all in three hours!! Buy this book now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 3/4 the way through the book and keep thinking it will pick up. I I am determined to finish, but it is a struggle. Boring - not like her usual 'page turner' books. Disappointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just when you think Cornwell has given you her best, she tops that with another great read! This book was a very quick read, perfect for your summer reading list. And the main character Win makes the book come alive. I hope to see more Win in the future. As usual, Cornwell's forensic knowledge is spot on. She's at the top of her game. Well done!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got my book and couldn't put it down till I was through with it. I liked this installment very much.I was caught up in the story right away. I love the way she get's right in to the story and her charactors. It was an evoling story with no dead space. I do hope there are more to follow, these charactors are very interesting and some I would like to follow and find out more of their personal going on's.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patricia Cornwell has done it again! She brings to life dynamic and interesting characters who draw you into the plot and keep you from putting the book down. The storyline was so exciting that I was sorry when it ended and I hope that she'll write a sequel. As usual, Cornwell never misses her mark and keeps her fans coming back for more books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Front keeps things interesting with lots of twist and turns. The entertaining and eccentric characters i.e., Grandmother and Raggedy Ann, and places in Massachusetts paint a picture in your mind. Once again, Patricia Cornwell never ceases to amaze with such a cleverly, well written plot. You won¿t be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patricia Cornwell once again shows us why she is the best crime writer known today. Win Garano and D.A. Lamont are back--one passionate and driven--the other caught up in power, politics and money--a dangerous combination for a woman with an agenda. Immersed in the world of Massachusetts police work and politics, another old case has Win searching for answers. The plot twists and turns are riveting and take you deeper and deeper and you can't put the book down! Scotland Yard--the FBI--The Mob--The Boston Strangler--the past and present on a collision course so well done, as a Massachusetts resident, I found myself wanting to check the news for developments in the cases! Don't miss this extraordinary tale, and be prepared to want more, Win Garano and D.A. Lamont are destined to be household names like Kay Scarpetta and Marino, you will be moved by the man, his family and colleagues, characters as only Cornwell can present them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading my copy of Cornwell's newest work. As usual, she has created another great adventure for Win, with the help of some new characters, all written in great detail that makes you feel like you're in the middle of the action!! I was drawn in from page one & found it difficult to put it down! If you have read her work, I highly recommend 'The Front' and if you have never read a Patricia Cornwell work, pick it up and prepare to become addicted!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of Patricia's best. Heart beating, thrilling, hidden secrets, identities not what they seem and a constant energy to get to the truth of a cold case. Win goes on yet another journey protected by his Nana and yet a puppet to Lamont and in the journey finds himself intrigued by Stump whom he later learns was involved with Lamont before she was a DA. Twists and turns a constant thrill in which leads to the uncovering of a Mafia hit from Janie being a witness to a hit in the early sixties. It is a powerful journey and one I could not complete until I read the book from cover to cover. Nana is up to her fun in protecting her Grandson and getting into mischief as usual. Keep up the great work, this is going to be a powerful series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received this book as an advance copy. I got the email and sent away my details and I was actually picked. Wow that doesn't happen to me much. I was really pleased and excited to be one of the first to get my teeth into Patricia's new book. So I made my lunch and settled down. And there I stayed till the afternoon when my daughter came home and reminded me what time it was. I had to take my dog to get his vaccinations. Figuring it was a risk to drive and read at the same time I dragged myself away from the story and went to the vets. I couldn't wait to come home to get back to the plots and sleuthing of Win and Co. Ok so I had to stop for a while to make dinner for my husband and children again dragged myself away. Anyways I have now finished the book and I really must say I loved it! I've read Patricia's books since Postmortem came out so I feel like I've taken a journey along with her. It's always interesting when Patricia has introduced a new series of characters and story lines. It's strange to get used to reading about new people and places written by Patricia's imagination when you've become so used to following the lives of Kay, Marino, Lucy and Benton. Those characters become lodged in our memories like old familiar friends so to speak. We look forward to reading the next chapter and wonder what we've missed since they've been absent. Thus to read about new ones we wonder if we will like them as much. I personally think I like these new ones and am looking forward to reading about their next chapters. I've enjoyed all the books I've read of hers some more than others. But this one is particularly fresh and funny. I found myself laughing out loud to Farouk and his 'understanding' of the English language. I like it when I read something that makes me laugh out loud or cry for that matter it makes the experience more complete. This story unravels and reravels before your eyes and then ends with an 'Ah, I see.' It also made a sense that this book was so much lighter then some of Patricia's more recent work. It shows that Patricia Cornwell is still at the top of her league in writing a really good read!! Thank you Patricia for all the really good reads over the years. I for one can't wait for the next book in this series. So get writing ......
IrisJC More than 1 year ago
This was not one of P.C.'s better books. The plot lagged in excitement. It was an easy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved this 2nd book featuring Win & Lamont. I found it to be a bit short, though. I love that the story is set here in Boston. You can almost see the characters in their surroundings. You can't help but feel sorry for Lamont (don't we all know someone like her)? I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful example of why, Patricia Cornwell is a New York Times best selling author. Win Garano, Nana and Monique Lamont are back in this fast paced novel. New characters like Stump and Raggedy Ann are so well defined that you hope they will spring up in another book and can't wait for that book to be published, while the classic characters gain more in depth personalities. The plot is well put together, everything from terrorism and bank robbers to a cold case murder and copper thieves. You cannot stop flipping the pages, and the conclusion comes out of nowhere. Writing at the top pf her game, Patricia Cornwell provides enough of a storyline and exciting energy to persuade you to finish the book in a single sitting. While finishing in at fewer than 200 pages, The Front leaves you more than satisfied and sad that it is over. Cornwell fans and those new to her craft will fall in love all over again. Valerie Jones
Guest More than 1 year ago
Looking for a quick and easy book to read, you found it!! Patricia Cornwell did it again, yes another can't put it down book, a must read. The Front shows the results of Patricia Cornwell's relentless research done, as always. It was great to meet new characters and their complex relationship in At Risk, Garano, Monique Lamont and Nana and to meet Stump in The Front. The Novella has plenty of twists and turns to fully capture your attention. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat with an intriguing ending, leaving you wanting more. I can't wait to read the next one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
my first time reading from author Patricia Cornwell. was pleasantly surprised on how descriptive the pages were. as the mystery unraveled, i felt like i was in the room with the characters and their lives. win's nana was my favorite!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What has happened to Patricia Cornwell? Her first books were so great and now they are almost a challenge to finish reading one they are so bad. I keep reading her new books hoping they will be as good as they used to be but I am disappointed again...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I kept reading expecting 'more'. Never happened. Slow moving, flat characters & minimal suspense. I wonder what happened to Dr. Scarpeta--those where great reads...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, it was definitely a quick read. The characters were great but I would have loved to see a full complete novel on the story created!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the book is rather short I found it intriguing once I got past the beginning and the feeling that I missed a previous book that would have provided some understanding of these characters. I enjoyed the main character, Win, and his relationship with his grandmother. However, I had a problem with the lack of explanation with regards to Win's jurisdiction and his responsibility for case investigation. His handling of evidence was ridiculous and highly unlikely. The story felt awkward and clumsy as if it was thrown together without much thought. And yet, it held my attention and at the end it left me wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started reading Patricia Cornwell on my job working a graveyard shift. I stopped reading it and got a list of her books in chronological order. She never stops holding my attention.