The Accidental Pallbearer

( 1 )
Paperback (New Edition)
$11.97 price
(Save 19%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (26) from $3.49   
  • New (12) from $8.31   
  • Used (14) from $3.49   
The Accidental Pallbearer

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49 price
(Save 29%)$14.95 List Price

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Richard Lipez
…features a PI who's part Mike Hammer and part William S. Burroughs. He's an interesting mix of violent moralism and lit-major depravity, and it all sort of works. What's certain is that Utica, New York's Eliot Conte is an instant original…It's an often poignant and sometimes devastating portrait of a nearly ruined small American city where people end up doing bad things to survive or to keep a way of life alive. Lentricchia writes that Conte "is a tribalist of southern Italian background for whom loyalty to one's family and friends trumps morality and (goes without saying) the law." There are echoes of Mario Puzo in The Accidental Pallbearer and of Vittorio de Sica's film The Bicycle Thief, too.
Publishers Weekly
Near the outset of this uneven first in a new crime series from Lentricchia (The Book of Ruth), Utica, N.Y., PI Eliot Conte, son of a New York State political kingmaker, tells his oldest friend, Antonio Robinson, he’s recently learned that the police suspect his ex-wife, Nancy, is the one who bludgeoned their two daughters to death in Laguna Beach, Calif., apparently following through on a threat to get back at him. Robinson, who landed the position of Utica police chief through the elder Conte’s influence, suggests that killing Nancy is the appropriate next step, but Conte feels nothing in the face of this devastating news. Of more concern is pursuing a man Conte will soon witness abusing his baby daughter on a train. Lentricchia, dubbed the “Dirty Harry of literary criticism” by the Village Voice, does a good job of depicting the quotidian nature of most PI work, but the plot starts out stronger than it finishes. Agent: Deirdre Mullane, Deirdre Mullane Literary. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Frank Lentricchia’s new novel ranks as entertainment of a high order – funny, fast-moving and hot-blooded. It’s also the kind of novel that will appeal to readers who like their fiction to carry depth and range.” –Don DeLillo

"Bravissimo!" —Lisa Scottoline

"The Accidental Pallbearer is a brilliant piece of fiction, and a page turner to boot, able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best writing in America today." --Jay Parini

"The Accidental Pallbearer deserves to be read alongside the best literary detective fiction of our time. Lentricchia's protagonist is the anti-hero par excellence - you can't put him down, either physically or emotionally - whose only equal is Fabio Montale from the great Marseilles trilogy by Jean-Claude Izzo." --John R. MacArthur, publisher, Harper's

“Vivid and unnerving … Eliot Conte is an instant original.” — The Washington Post

”Lentricchia captures the feel of upstate New York (Richard Russo territory) and of Italian American culture within a familiar genre, with predictable grit and wit. We hope to see more of Conte and perhaps of his promising romantic interest, a Troy policewoman.” – Booklist

“There’s a Quentin Tarantino masculinity to this story of a private investigator known for solving knotty problems in not-quite-lawful ways.” –The Charlotte Observer

“More than a thriller … Lentricchia’s prose soars…” — The Raleigh-Durham Herald-Sun

“Lentricchia’s latest work, in my opinion his finest, certainly the one most accessible to a wide audience, is entitled “The Accidental Pallbearer,” a detective-crime-Mafioso novel set in Utica, full of bits and pieces of authentic Utica history, altered and molded into a totally fictional story that is fast-paced and thrilling, scene after scene. It has the hard-bitten diction and action of “Film Noir” (and I do believe it is destined to be made into a film). Central to the novel is the conflict of family loyalty versus family disintegration that makes the best of Italian-American fiction so riveting.” — The Union Observer Dispatch

Praise for The Knifemen and Johnny Critelli

"[Scenes that are] somber or funny or lose-your-lunch ugly....The sabotage and sadness are real, and the language out of the streets and kitchens and bedrooms is obscenely authentic." --Entertainment Weekly

"Lentricchia has fashioned two short novels that display a rousing capacity for language and a gritty sense of the contemporary male mind." --Publishers Weekly

“Brutal and uncompromising, brilliant and desperate.” —Rolling Stone

“Original and lively. . . Frank Lentricchia is that rare thing, a professor of English with writing talent.” —Frank Kermode

Library Journal
This series debut by the author of The Book of Ruth and The Italian Actress is a high-art frenetic novel laced with black humor, one-liners, puns, guns, Mafia assassinations, crooked police, and the closely linked issues of loyalty and betrayal. The dissolute antihero Eliot Conte was once an academic until he dangled UCLA’s provost out a window. Most professors are similarly inclined but show self-control. Returning home to bleak Utica, NY, he has become an equally unorthodox PI. When Eliot’s highly unlikely blood brother, Antonio Robinson, Utica’s corrupt black chief of police, enlists him to neutralize his deputy chief, Eliot’s investigation uncovers links to the 15-year-old case of a mob assassination carried out by a last-minute replacement pallbearer (anything but accidental!). Eliot is already running a personal probe of a train passenger he witnessed assaulting the passenger’s own child. The two cases are linked, of course, in true noir fashion. Conte is a cad, but his actions are guided by a moral compass, no matter how skewed.

Verdict The terrific writing, clever plots, bleak humor, and colorful characters recommend this to fans of gritty noir crime fiction.—Seamus Scanlon, Ctr. for Worker Education, CUNY

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612191713
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/5/2012
  • Series: Melville International Crime Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 455,634
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    What better setting for gritty crime writing than the broken dow

    What better setting for gritty crime writing than the broken down middle-American wasteland of upstate New York? This book is funny, dark, and has real chops. 

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)