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4.0 1
by Alan Dunn

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British praise for Alan Dunn’s previous book, Die Cast

“A dark thriller that trumpets an emerging talent.” —Time Out

“Good tight prose.” —Literary Review

“This excellent novel is both a delight and a surprise.... It will be a pleasure to see Dunn’s next book.”


British praise for Alan Dunn’s previous book, Die Cast

“A dark thriller that trumpets an emerging talent.” —Time Out

“Good tight prose.” —Literary Review

“This excellent novel is both a delight and a surprise.... It will be a pleasure to see Dunn’s next book.” —Newcastle Journal

“Enough twists and hairpin turns to have your head spinning. Terrific storytelling.” —Campbell Armstrong, author of Jigsaw

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In British author Alan Dunn's (Die Cast) suspenseful U.S. debut, Payback, single dad and former cop Billy Oliphant and his teenaged daughter, Kirsty, are looking forward to a winter weekend at Forestcrag Village in the north of England. But a heavy snowfall that isolates Forestcrag, the discovery of the hanged body of the resort's payroll manager and reports of an escaped prisoner (whom Billy helped put behind bars) in the area, all make for a less than carefree holiday.
Library Journal
Security consultant Billy Oliphant's unexpected but free trip to an exclusive resort in northern England lands him in deep trouble. Cut off from the rest of the world by heavy snow, Billy finds that he must investigate a suspicious suicide-with little help. Has someone engineered the death to blacken the name of the resort's charismatic manager? Meanwhile, a prisoner Billy sent to jail while he was still a policeman has escaped from a nearby prison and murdered a guard. Will the killer come after Billy? British author Dunn's first mystery to be published in the United States expertly depicts the claustrophobia of an isolated, snowbound microcosm, marked by hints of evil. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
British author Dunn's first US publication packs private investigator Billy Oliphant and his budding daughter Kirsty off on what looks like a pleasant February weekend at Forestcrag Village in the north of England as the guests of electrician Sly Rogers, Billy's old friend and sometime employee. When David Morland, the resort's oily managing director, offers Billy the hush-hush, high-paying job of figuring out who's been poisoning the staff-the culprit seems to have been leaving the well-heeled guests alone-Billy turns him down because he doesn't like Morland and doesn't want to rearrange his work schedule on such short notice. But his refusal doesn't matter because a raging snowstorm cuts Forestcrag off from the rest of the world just as computer manager Eve Marton is discovering the hanged body of payroll manager Eric Salkeld. The local chief superintendent asks Billy to gather evidence and make preliminary inquiries until the coppers arrive, but the real reason for his phone call is to warn Billy that a prisoner Billy arrested before he was fired from the police force has escaped and is roaming the neighborhood. Meanwhile, some suspicious marks on the supposed suicide's body warn Billy that "I'm looking for a murderer. A different murderer's looking for me." There'll be enough corpses for half a season of And Then There Were None and an intolerably anticlimactic finale before Billy decides that no more paybacks are due. Until the overextended epilogue, however, Dunn manages the suspense for his attractively down-to-earth hero so expertly that you may think you're reading Dick Francis without the horses.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.68(h) x 1.12(d)

Meet the Author

Alan Dunn was born and bred on Tyneside but lives on the fringes of the Lake District in northern England. His first published work, the Ian St. James Award Winning short story “French Kisses” has been anthologized twice in England. He has been a work study officer, hospital administrator, insurance salesman, company secretary, folk musician, and a teacher of creative writing. He enjoys running, cycling, and collects models of jelly-babies. He has published three other novels in England.

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Sly Rogers invites his friend private investigator Billy Oliphant and daughter Kirsty to spend a pleasant wintry weekend at Forestcrag Moorland Holiday Village. The trek to the remote North England resort is not fun, but Bill expects a luxurious relaxing few days spent with his daughter. However, director David Morland wants to hire Billy to quietly investigate the recent poisoning of employees. Billy says no wanting to just R&R with Kirsty and not impact his work waiting for his return home. A nasty storm strands the occupants of Forestcrag. When the corpse of payroll manager Eric Salkeld is found hanging, Billy calls the local police, who cannot easily get to the death scene. Though it appears a simple suicide, the locals ask Billy as a former cop to conduct a preliminary investigation and to contain the scene until they arrive. He also receives a warning from the police that someone he once arrested has escaped and is in the area. Meanwhile Billy notices marks on the body making him conclude the so-called suicide is a cover up of a murder. Fans of suspense laden investigation thrillers will feel they gained much PAYBACK from Alan Dunn¿s novel that reads somewhat like a police procedural once the first of several murders occur. The story line is very exciting so much so that the well-written climax seems weak by comparison. Still, Billy is a delightful lead character and those close to him accentuate the audience¿s ability to understand the hero¿s preference of non-involvement. When all is said and done, readers will appreciate PAYBACK and look for more novels from this British author. Harriet Klausner