No Regrets, Coyote: A Novel

No Regrets, Coyote: A Novel

4.1 7
by John Dufresne

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“A very cool ride. If Raymond Chandler was reincarnated as a novelist in South Florida, he couldn’t nail it any better than Dufresne.”—Carl Hiaasen

On Christmas Eve in Eden, Florida, Wylie “Coyote” Melville, therapist and forensic consultant, is summoned to a horrific crime scene. Five members of the Halliday family have been


“A very cool ride. If Raymond Chandler was reincarnated as a novelist in South Florida, he couldn’t nail it any better than Dufresne.”—Carl Hiaasen

On Christmas Eve in Eden, Florida, Wylie “Coyote” Melville, therapist and forensic consultant, is summoned to a horrific crime scene. Five members of the Halliday family have been brutally killed. Wylie’s rare talent is an ability to read a crime scene, consider the evidence seen and unseen, and determine what’s likely to have happened. The police are soon convinced that the deaths were a murder-suicide carried out by a broken and desperate Chafin Halliday, but Wylie’s not so sure.

As Wylie begins his own investigation with the help of his friend Bay Lettique—a poker-playing sleight-of-hand artist with links to the Everglades County underworld—he discovers a web of corruption involving the police union, Ponzi-scheming lawyers, county politicians, and the Russian mob. What follows is a heart-stopping, edgy novel that introduces a completely original crime solver.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
…[a] ghoulishly funny crime novel…Dufresne is an original talent. His humor is frightfully dark, but it's also quite dazzling—even by the exacting standards of South Florida crime fiction.
Publishers Weekly
The Eden, Fla., police believe that Chafin Halliday slaughtered his wife and three young children before killing himself in this absorbing if at times frustrating noir from Dufresne (Louisiana Power & Light). However, therapist Wylie “Coyote” Melville, a volunteer forensic consultant, thinks the supposed murder/suicide looks staged. He also has his doubts about the typed note Halliday left at the scene. Distracted by his own family’s emotional troubles, Wylie is too unfocused to deal with Eden’s escalating tangle of police corruption or to realize how close to its center he is. Lauded as a man of keen insight, Wylie knows something is seriously wrong, but is unaware that he’s become a pawn in a game he no longer understands. His inability to apply his analytic skills to himself is plausible, as is the ease with which those around him steer him for their own benefit, but the result is a story ever so slightly out of focus. Agent: Richard P. McDonough, Richard P. McDonough Literary Agency. (July)
Michael Koryta
“Engrossing crime drama from a gifted writer, No Regrets, Coyote will please readers of all tastes with its compelling storytelling, fascinating and often funny hero, and beautiful prose.”
Marilyn Stasio - New York Times Book Review
“Ghoulishly funny. . . . Dufresne is an original talent.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“No matter how sad, ridiculous, terrifying, poignant, goofy,
or heroic a particular passage, Dufresne seems to be having the time of his life.”
Boston Globe
Laura Lee Smith - Tampa Bay Times
“Fantastic, very sharp, very wry.”
Carl Hiaasen
“No Regrets, Coyote is a very cool ride. If Raymond Chandler was reincarnated as a novelist in South Florida, he couldn't nail it any better than John Dusfrene.”
Dennis Lehane
“A novel so good you want to throw a party for it. It’s tense, unnerving, fearless, and funny as hell. Beautifully rendered on every page, it may be a crime novel in name but it’s literature for the ages.”
James O. Born
“John Dufresne has created a unique and compelling sleuth in Wylie “Coyote” Melville. His quirky adventures will keep you reading.”
Andre Dubus III
“Takes noir fiction and slivers it with shards of humor, ironic insight, and an almost hallucinogenic specificity. This is lean and honest storytelling that is as moving as it is engaging. Read this book. Believe me, you'll have no regrets!”
Tom Perrotta
“Hilariously dark . . . brings to mind the work of such masters as Donald Westlake and Elmore Leonard. It's a lurid pleasure from beginning to end.”
Tom Franklin
“Sit back, put a cooler of beer by your chair, and settle in, you'll be here awhile: No Regrets, Coyote is impossible to close.”
James W. Hall
“Touching, nervy, richly detailed, and populated with a cast of characters who are utterly unique and terrifyingly real. Its humor is abundant and warm-hearted, and its detective hero is unlike any we've ever met before. American crime fiction has just gotten a lot more interesting.”
James Grippando
“Nelson DeMille meets Carl Hiassan, and the result (like the ending) is totally satisfying.”
Laura Lippman
“An extraordinary novel. . . . Steeped in place, wholly original, it is, line-by-line, one of the best books I've read in a long time.”
Kirkus Reviews
An ambling thriller about a suspicious murder-suicide that never meets a diversion it doesn't like. Wittingly or not, Wylie "Coyote" Melville, unofficial Everglades County crime consultant, may suggest a reader's initial response to this latest from Dufresne when he says, "[a] lack of narrative structure, as you know, will cause anxiety." Melville's wide-ranging and loosely structured narrative, which looks like a series launch, won't exactly cause a reader anxiety. In fact, this appealing raconteur's keen observations and dry, sometimes mordant sense of humor consistently divert. But that also means a reader can't always discern what the book wants to be about. Like Coyote, a busy therapist who, because of his attention to detail and behavior ("I read faces and furniture"), can just about divine a culprit, the book wears many hats. Ostensibly, the plot is about a Christmas Eve shootout in which a father takes out his wife, his three children and then himself. Police are quick to rule the tragedy a murder-suicide, but too much about the case nags at Coyote. His ensuing investigation ranges far and wide and takes many side trips. There are, for example, Coyote's no-nonsense, advice-filled therapy sessions. There are Coyote's meetings with friend Bay Lettique, a devilish magician who can slice a banana with a card tossed from 10 feet. And there are Coyote's dinners with his sister and brother-in-law, who suffers gout. Throughout, Coyote's sharp-eyed narration and quick takes on behavior amuse. "He looked like a Cal or a Kim," Coyote says of a man in a bar whose "short blond hair was combed forward and rose to a quiff like the Gerber baby's." Eventually, Dufresne gathers some nasty police officers, Coyote, Bay and some others and packs them off to Alaska for a solid chase scene and a denouement that, however predictable, is no less potent. A ride on a local that's more fun than some others on an express.

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author

John Dufresne is the author of six novels, including No Regrets, Coyote. Among other honors, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a professor in the MFA program at Florida International University. He lives in Dania Beach, Florida.

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No Regrets, Coyote: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
rpmcestmoi More than 1 year ago
it's a departure for the author, in a way, a "serious" literary writer (the quote marks are for the silliness of serious, since all writing has to be judged by the same rules) as this is a mystery.  All of the best genre books are simply best books and this is one of them.  Many layered and quite discursive, the writing is superb.  Witty, filled with great observations of character and place an behavioral tics, and, yup, with a mystery in there to be solved by the therapist with patients who would try anyone's patience and moonlights for the police based on his reading of reality that is uncanny...most of the time.  It is also peculiarly tender, particularly in the author's read of our therapist's dad, suffering Alzheimer's, who is as wild and free with his mouth as he is unable to control body functions; a wonderful creation with whom we get to spend an Alaska evening, his last, in great joy.  This is is genre transcending genre.  Good lit.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this for the second time, still good!
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
In any piece that is well written, the first paragraph is of utmost importance.  It tells the reader what she/he is about to read,  yet still “hooks” him/her into reading the remainder of the book.  John Dufresne is a writer unafraid to taking risks can speak his vision of the world without judgment and can encapsulate his novel into his opening paragraph.  I “knew” what to expect after reading this early passage, yet wanted to see how he was going to pull off what I expected.  I was both delightfully wrong in my “knowledge” and correct in the anticipation I had as I savored the reading of this violent (graphically so), cynical yet innocent, darkly humorous, philosophical crime drama where the hero is the narrator and a psychotherapist.  What more could a body ask in a book? Carlos O’Brien, Det. Sergeant with the Eden (FL) Police department asks Wylie “Coyote” Melville, a therapist in Melancholy, FL, to assess the scene of a murder on Christmas Eve in hopes of gaining some insight into why a father would slaughter his wife and 3 children, and then kill himself on a night that was supposed to be a celebration.  In short order, Coyote’s assessment is discounted and he is dismissed from the investigation.  But, our intrepid investigator is true to his profession – he is far too nosey to let any “disordered” information go uninvestigated.  His natural curiosity, which makes him a good therapist, soon leads him to asking the wrong questions of the wrong people at the wrong moments – and he does so with the innocence of someone who “only wants to help,” words that are the motto of Codependents and Therapists, everywhere.  Within a short time, he is being confronted by: rogue police officers, the Russian mob, his sister, former girlfriends and he has a homeless man living under the hedges in his yard, these events seemed to be calmed a bit by his new kitten, Django – who licks others, but gnaws on his new “master.”  The action is intense at moments, the plot is steady and consistent but the characters “make” this narrative. There are so many undercurrents within this novel that it seemed a life-jacket would be a good idea while reading.  The locations (Eden, Melancholy), the people (Coyote, Bay – coyote’s poker-playing friend who is also a “close-up” magician and who plays the role of trying to keep the evil away (at bay) from Coyote; Georgia – ex-wife who loves to laud the fact of being “over” him)) and language (“What’s behind you?” “I don’t know.”  “You should know, Coyote.  You should always know, because what’s behind you may be gaining on you.” p.40) are each creating images and suggestions that bring new “stories” into the present saga while, as a whole, are adding dimensions to it.  Such literary layering is not easily achieved, but when it is enacted well, the cacophony of so much action occurring becomes a symphony of revelation and this book is a Concerto. This is not a story for children.  There is MUCH violence, some most graphic, harsh language and suggestive moments located within this book.  It did not seem to be an overly vicious book, as Coyote plays his role as a trusting, honest, inquisitive narrator so well that the body count (which is high) is unnoticed until the reader begins to revisit who is not present for roll call at the book’s end.   I expect this to be the first in a series of “Coyote” novels.  I will rejoin Coyote on his next case, I’ll just pack another set of clothes – traveling with him can be dirty work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"No Regrets, Coyote" is primarily a murder mystery involving Wylie "Coyote" Melville. Melville is a therapist and occasional police consultant. Unfortunately, this case leads to the revelation of police corruption and mafia involvement. The last few pages of the book have spacing issues which was distracting. The beginning and ending are both a bit abstract considering most murder mysteries. The last chapter or two did feel a little rushed compared to the rest of the book which felt more flushed out or developed. However, there is still ample detail throughout the story. Unique, authentic and well developed characters are present helping to develop and run the multiple stories lines which are running at the same time. The author does a good job weaving the stories together. Based on the ending, I suspect, or perhaps just hope, for future adventures for some of the characters. Overall an intriguing and enjoyable read.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
I was kind of up and down on this one. A forensic consultant is called in by the Everglades County police to help unravel a crime scene. Nothing of course is what it appears to be and the investigation goes South. The book had a good core storyline, but it constantly digressed into overly detailed descriptions and antics of side characters. Sometimes I felt the main storyline was secondary to the ancillary hijinks. The story was saved about two thirds of the way through the book, when the action returned with a bang. From that point it flowed smoothly to the end. I have to give the author credit for the most imaginatively named characters I have run across in some time. You certainly won't find any John Smiths or Sam Jones here. Book provided for review by Goodreads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good! Although I got a little confused when after Luna had been saying she wanted to raise the sun that the last sentence she said said that she wanted to raise the moon. I supposed you meant sun. Although I do understand that this was a quick type up and it was probably just a minor mistake. Otherwise, it was very good! Very well written! Keep up the good work! ~RD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luna walks to Celestia's room. "I can't believe I'm about to do this!" She thought. Celestia's royal gurds let her in. Luna trotted into the large room. Celestia was writing, probably to Twilight Sparkle. "Um Tia... I wanted to know if maybe I could raise the sun tomorrow...." she said quietly. "Luna we alreay had this discussion-" she said on the verge of getting angry. "Celestia that was ten yars ago. Ive grown since then. I want to raise the sun." She whined. "And ten years ago you had just come back from the moon!" Celestia yelled. "Fine if you won't let me raise the moon ill raise it myself!" She galloped out of the bedroom tears briming her eyes. (Part two will be posted at next result. Thx for reading!)