Sudden Impact

Overview

Bestselling author William Wood spins this dark, riveting tale of a beloved Sacramento cop killed in a bizarre accident, and the hunt to track down his killer?a fast-paced thriller of murder, deceit, haunting pasts, and one man?s dangerous scheme to fight for those he loves.

Officer Tommy Ensor did not see the car that struck him down on a rainy night in California?s capital.

Ensor is no ordinary cop. He?s a hero, winner of the Medal of Valor, ...

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Sudden Impact

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Overview

Bestselling author William Wood spins this dark, riveting tale of a beloved Sacramento cop killed in a bizarre accident, and the hunt to track down his killer—a fast-paced thriller of murder, deceit, haunting pasts, and one man’s dangerous scheme to fight for those he loves.

Officer Tommy Ensor did not see the car that struck him down on a rainy night in California’s capital.

Ensor is no ordinary cop. He’s a hero, winner of the Medal of Valor, devoted family man and coach, helping at-risk kids. But the driver who struck him down and didn’t stop isn’t ordinary either. He’s Judge Frank Stevenson, up-and-coming member of the bench, also devoted to his wife and daughter, involved in charities and good works. In a split second he did something completely uncharacteristic that irrevocably changes his life and the lives of everyone close to him.

Terry Nye is a couple of weeks from retirement as a detective, head of Major Crimes. He’s trying to pack thirty years of bloody experiences and hard lessons into those two weeks for his new partner, Rose Tafoya. Rose is a young detective, smart, more than a little ambitious, but also insecure. Together she and Nye are a powerhouse team. He’s determined to find Ensor’s assailant and he’s going to make sure Rose doesn’t make the same mistakes he did, especially the unforgivable one that has come back to darkly haunt him after Ensor’s accident.

The city is in turmoil when Ensor dies and the hunt for a cop killer rushes ahead relentlessly, moving from Nye and Tafoya to Stevenson and his wife. The guilty and innocent are sucked randomly into the intense, high-powered investigation. Nye and Rose face death in a shoot-out; a politician’s sad, dirty secret is exposed; and ambitions threaten to destroy the investigation.

The hunters and the hunted know the stakes are life and death.

Frank Stevenson knows he’s being hunted. Stevenson is both stunned because he didn’t stop that rainy night and steeled to do whatever he has to do to avoid the hunters. Even if it means committing more crimes. He’s not just protecting himself. He’s fighting for those he loves.

Stevenson comes up with a brilliant scheme to throw Nye and Tafoya off the track. But even if it works, Stevenson is tormented wondering how he can sit in judgment on others now. 

A final hard moment of reckoning arrives for the hunters and the hunted. Everyone will realize that their lives will change in the blink of an eye.  

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/05/2014
Wood's engaging investigative thriller starts off with a bang, as beloved Sacramento police officer and local hero Tommy Ensor is killed in a late-night hit-and-run in front of the California state capitol building. The driver is charitable and good-natured Judge Frank Stevenson, who happens to be preparing for a meteoric rise through the ranks of California's justice system at the time of the accident. With so much to lose, Stevenson exhausts every available option at his disposal in an attempt to cover his tracks, but detectives Terry Nye and Rose Tafoya—along with the rest of the city's police department—are determined to track down the assailant. Meanwhile, assistant chiefs of police Jerry Nishimoto and Lou Altlander vie for the soon-to-be-vacated spot at the head of the department, threatening to turn the investigation into a political charade. Wood (Stay of Execution) is a must-read for those who love a classic, hard-boiled detective novel. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Wood's engaging investigative thriller starts off with a bang, as beloved Sacramento police officer and local hero Tommy Ensor is killed in a late-night hit-and-run in front of the California state capitol building. The driver is charitable and good-natured Judge Frank Stevenson, who happens to be preparing for a meteoric rise through the ranks of California's justice system at the time of the accident. With so much to lose, Stevenson exhausts every available option at his disposal in an attempt to cover his tracks, but detectives Terry Nye and Rose Tafoya--along with the rest of the city's police department--are determined to track down the assailant. Meanwhile, assistant chiefs of police Jerry Nishimoto and Lou Altlander vie for the soon-to-be-vacated spot at the head of the department, threatening to turn the investigation into a political charade. Wood (Stay of Execution) is a must-read for those who love a classic, hard-boiled detective novel. (Feb.) Publishers Weekly

“No one writes a better police procedural than Bill Wood, and Sudden Impact is his best one to date—lucid prose, meticulous legal detail, and unforgettable characters struggling in various moral quandaries. Terrific, unputdownable stuff.” —John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Juror and The Hunt Club

“William Wood is a master of suspense. Sudden Impact is Wood at the peak of his powers, tense and eloquent, with characters and a story of political intrigue and riveting tragedy.” —Steve Martini, New York Times bestselling author
 

“Wood clearly knows the inner workings of the judicial system.” Publishers Weekly
 

“A feeling of truth permeates this book . . . one of the better courtroom dramas of recent years.” New York Times, for Rampage
 

“The story never cools down and never plays tricks.” Kirkus Reviews

“The nonstop action and relentless pace will satisfy fans of the hard-boiled thriller genre.” Publishers Weekly, for Gangland

“A spellbinding tale about the men and women who dispence justice from the bench.” Associated Press, forBroken Trust

“William P. Wood . . . knows the intricacies and ironies of the legal system. He also knows how to employ them to weave a compelling story.” San Diego Union, forStay of Execution
 

From the Publisher

“No one writes a better police procedural than Bill Wood, and Sudden Impact is his best one to date—lucid prose, meticulous legal detail, and unforgettable characters struggling in various moral quandaries. Terrific, unputdownable stuff.” —John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Juror and The Hunt Club

“William Wood is a master of suspense. Sudden Impact is Wood at the peak of his powers, tense and eloquent, with characters and a story of political intrigue and riveting tragedy.” —Steve Martini, New York Times bestselling author
 

“Wood clearly knows the inner workings of the judicial system.” Publishers Weekly
 

“A feeling of truth permeates this book . . . one of the better courtroom dramas of recent years.” New York Times, for Rampage
 

“The story never cools down and never plays tricks.” Kirkus Reviews

“The nonstop action and relentless pace will satisfy fans of the hard-boiled thriller genre.” Publishers Weekly, for Gangland

“A spellbinding tale about the men and women who dispence justice from the bench.” Associated Press, forBroken Trust

“William P. Wood . . . knows the intricacies and ironies of the legal system. He also knows how to employ them to weave a compelling story.” San Diego Union, forStay of Execution
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620454664
  • Publisher: Turner
  • Publication date: 2/18/2014
  • Pages: 415
  • Sales rank: 490,334
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM WOOD is the bestselling author of eight novels and one nonfiction book. As a deputy district attorney in California, he handled thousands of criminal cases and  put on over 50 jury trials. Two of Wood’s novels have been produced as motion pictures, including Rampage, filmed by Academy Award winning director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist, Rules of Engagement), and Broken Trust, filmed by Jane Fonda Films with the screenplay written by Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne. Wood’s books have been translated into several foreign languages including French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Greek, and Polish. He lives in Sacramento, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Quintana watched him, hunched over in the rain and wind, heading for Capitol Mall on which the grand new structure faced. Half of the block had been cordoned off partly with chain link fence and orange traffic cones for men and machines to use during the day. Quintana realized that Ensor, like him, had taken off his orange reflective vest sometime during their dull, lonely vigil. People emptied out of the heart of California’s capital city after five and after midnight there was no traffic, either. Just extra off-duty pay.

He turned and headed back through the lobby that had a reeking smell of damp cement and upturned earth. His flashlight beam bouncing around the manmade cavern made spectral shadows and fantastic monsters.

Suddenly Quintana heard the sharp screech of tires and a crunching—almost gelatinous—thud and a speeding engine’s whine fading swiftly with distance. The sounds came from behind him. Between them it seemed like a great deal of time passed, even though he realized it was a second, a fraction of a second perhaps.

He yanked out his handi-talkie from his raincoat and at a lope started back to the front of the construction site. “Tommy? What’s up? Tommy, you there? What’s going on?” he said rapidly.

His harsh questions to Ensor were met with silence. He snapped off his flashlight in case someone was waiting in the darkness and picked up his pace as he now raced toward the entrance. 

Quintana splashed through the pooled rain and mud outside the building, passed the trucks and cranes. He got to Capitol Mall, rain swept and deserted. He looked up and down the street and saw no one and he kept calling for Ensor on the handi-talkie, then he lifted his head and shouted aloud.

He snapped is flashlight back on and sent its beam sparkling with raindrops dancing into the street, past the link fence and the ragged line of overturned orange plastic cones. Then he spotted a bunched black shape in the middle of Capitol Mall.

As he ran toward it, Quintana wondered why everything was so dark; then an observant, detached part of his mind noted that several of the high overhead streetlights had blown out sometime recently during the storm.

When he got to the middle of the street, he instantly recoiled . . Ensor had been thrown onto his back, his uniform hat farther down in the lane. His right arm was bent across his body, white bone sticking up jaggedly, and his legs were tangled impossibly with each other so he seemed to have two left feet. Quintana got down on his knees and quickly checked for a pulse, found it in Ensor’s neck, and checked his breathing. He then saw that the left side of Ensor’s head, the prematurely gray-white streaked hair, was red and through a ragged hole, Quintana could see the pale gray of Tommy Ensor’s brain.

“Tommy? Can you hear me? Tommy? Tommy?” Quintana said loudly as a red sheet spread across Ensor’s face, blood and rain obscuring his unseeing eyes.

Quintana knew he shouldn’t move Ensor, but he couldn’t leave him in the middle of the street. Any car or truck wouldn’t make out either of them until it was too late. 

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