The Man Who Never Returned: A Novel

The Man Who Never Returned: A Novel

3.2 11
by Peter Quinn

View All Available Formats & Editions

Judge Joe Crater's disappearance in 1930 spawned countless conspiracy theories and captured the imagination of a nation caught in the grip of The Depression.
Fifteen years later, Fintan Dunne the detective encountered in Quinn's novel Hour of the Cat, recently retired and bored, answers a summons to New York where he is asked to solve the old case for a

…  See more details below


Judge Joe Crater's disappearance in 1930 spawned countless conspiracy theories and captured the imagination of a nation caught in the grip of The Depression.
Fifteen years later, Fintan Dunne the detective encountered in Quinn's novel Hour of the Cat, recently retired and bored, answers a summons to New York where he is asked to solve the old case for a newspaper magnate only interested in making a profit from the story.
Peter Quinn once again has written a compelling blend of history and fiction that is simply unputdownable.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Man Who Never Returned:

"Peter Quinn just might make it into the history books himself. He is perfecting, if not actually creating, a genre you could call the history-mystery. The Man Who Never Returned is a dazzling story by a fine writer. Fintan Dunne is a memorably hero who you want to meet again & again." — James Patterson

"In The Man Who Never Returned, Peter Quinn shapes a tantalizing tale around the enduring mystery of Judge Joseph Force Crater, whose disappearance remains a major mystery. Quinn knows New York and its politics better than anyone. The talk and the story are as sharp and hard-edged as they city they embody. This is noir fiction at its finest." — William Kennedy

'The nonstop sizzle of two new historical novels set in Manhattan makes them strong candidates for the beach this summer.' — The New York Times, Round-up of books about New York government

"The Man Who Never Returned is a winner. A masterful and evocative tale, set in a beautifully rendered 1950's New York, it combines true crime with vivid imagining. This is that rare book: A first-rate thriller that seamlessly weaves together page-turning narrative with richly detailed characters whose motivations—complex, suspect, hidden— always ring true." —Thomas Kelly, author of A Testament of Devotion

'A new take to the old mystery' — New York Post 'Required Reading'

Peter Quinn brings wit, panache and a deep knowledge of the Big Apple to his latest Fintan Dunne novel. The Man Who Never Returned is a taut thriller but also a meditation on life in the big city, where a well- connected municipal judge can disappear overnight and leave behind a mystery that transforms lives, confounds investigators, and fortunately for lovers of detective fiction provides Quinn with a fascinating plotline that fully utilizes his skills as a storyteller. — T.J. English, New York Times best-selling author of Havana Nocturne

'Peter Quinn writes about the old New York the way that Allen Furst writes about Paris. The Man Who Never Returned is not only a gripping take on one of the city's most enduring mysteries, but also a world in and of itself. You may never want to leave.' Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row

"Quinn delivers a satisfying solution to the real- life mystery of Joseph Crater, a New York City judge who disappeared in 1930, in this stellar hard-boiled historical novel, a sequel to The Hour of the Cat (2005). In 1955, a New York newspaper magnate offers PI Fintan Dunne carte blanche to investigate the case in the hope that Dunne will provide him with a sensational exclusive. Crater vanished just as an official inquiry into judicial corruption, ordered by then governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was getting underway. Perhaps Crater fled to avoid prosecutionïor someone bumped him off because he knew too much. Restless in retirement, Dunne accepts the offer, despite his skepticism that such a cold trail can be meaningfully pursued. Quinn not only makes the existence of clues at such a late date plausible but also concocts an explanation that's both logical and surprising. The depth and complexity of the lead character is a big plus." —Publisher's Weekly

'I read Peter Quinn's novel The Man Who Never Returned. It is an utterly compelling story with a charismatic flawed protagonist in Finton Dunne. Gripping from the first page to the last, Peter Quinn creates a unique and utterly believable world, part history, part fiction. He is an enviably wonderful writer.' — Gabriel Byrne

'Freely mixing history, mystery, and novelistic license, Quinn offers a noir-ish tale of Tammany Hall politics, sex, crime, Broadway moguls, and cops, populated by more than a dozen interesting characters...Quinn's rich, insightful, evocative descriptions of New York, both in Crater's time and in 1955, will certainly please fans of historical crime novels.' — Booklist

"With echoes of Raymond Chandler and Orson Welles, as well as enough period detail to outfit a vintage shop, this workmanlike effort will appeal to those interested in literary and noirish historical mysteries." —Library Journal

'A page-turner noir novel...Quinn masterfully crafts a forceful narrative whose revealing ending doesn't disappoint.' — Irish America Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
A novel that suggests a fictional resolution to a historical mystery. The disappearance of New York's Judge Joe Crater in 1930 sparked speculation for decades that has never completely dissipated. After a restaurant dinner one evening, he stepped into a taxi and was never seen again. Was he a murder victim, silenced because he was about to expose the corruption that had bought his appointment? Was he a possible embarrassment who could derail the presidential ambitions of New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt? Was he a womanizer who fell afoul of a spurned lover or perhaps a lover's mate? Maybe there was even someone who had designs on Crater's wife and wanted him out of the way. Or perhaps he vanished for reasons of his own. All of these explanations are possible, some even plausible, within the fourth novel by Quinn (Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America, 2007, etc.), a former New York publishing executive and political speechwriter. Though the author plainly knows the lay of the land through experience and research, the framing seems overcomplicated. The novel takes place on the 25th anniversary of the judge's disappearance, when a Rupert Murdoch-like journalism mogul hires detective Fintan Dunne (from Quinn's Hour of the Cat, 2005) to reopen the case. The publisher's heavily bankrolled interest seems something of a mystery to both the detective, who had been uneasily retired, and the reader. The judge never makes an appearance in the novel, except through the recollection of others, and almost all of the characters are fictional, with the notable exception of the judge's wife (or widow). "As long as people are interested in sex, crime, politics and the big city, Crater will continue to be of interest," explains an "Author's Note." But since the detective doesn't enter the picture until 25 years after the disappearance, most of his research comes from reading. Thus, despite the obligatory interludes of sex and violence, the reader spends much of the book looking over the protagonist's shoulder at what the detective is reading. This hybrid of mystery and history builds a compelling case but sets a leisurely pace in the process. . . .

Read More

Product Details

The Overlook Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.55(w) x 8.13(h) x 0.99(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Quinn is the author of Hour of the Cat, The Man Who Never Returned, Looking for Jimmy, and The Banished Children of Eve, all available from Overlook.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >