The Monsters of Gramercy Park

The Monsters of Gramercy Park

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by Danny Leigh
     
 

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An electrifying game of cat and mouse between an imprisoned mastermind and a crime writer with a hidden past.

In this darkly suspenseful novel about buried secrets, Lizbeth Greene, a celebrated crime novelist whose inspiration has run dry, seeks out Wilson Velez, a gang lord just removed from five years of solitary confinement. Convinced that writing a

Overview

An electrifying game of cat and mouse between an imprisoned mastermind and a crime writer with a hidden past.

In this darkly suspenseful novel about buried secrets, Lizbeth Greene, a celebrated crime novelist whose inspiration has run dry, seeks out Wilson Velez, a gang lord just removed from five years of solitary confinement. Convinced that writing a book about Velez could revive her ailing career, Lizbeth persuades Wilson's attorney to allow her to visit the notorious convict in his high-security Philadelphia prison.

Nervous, stammering, and withdrawn, Wilson is far from the cold-blooded, charismatic killer that Lizbeth had expected. But as their visits continue, she gradually becomes drawn into Wilson's sinister world, and the two engage in a complex and fascinating dance of attraction and rejection: Lizbeth needs Wilson to kick-start her career; Wilson needs Lizbeth to sway an upcoming appeals case and keep him from returning to solitary confinement. As they reveal secrets that are more and more incriminating, their increasingly intimate and dangerous exchanges build to an unforgettable climax.

Editorial Reviews

Time Out London
"Monsters is a masterly piece of writing. It could be called a thriller—but that hardly covers the psychological intricacies Leigh teases out."
Patrick Anderson
This psychological thriller takes us deep inside two fascinating, seriously flawed human beings and asks us to make up our own minds about them. Leigh is a 33-year-old Englishman who, the publisher says, has been a musician and a journalist. This is an impressive start to his new career.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Although slow at first, the debut novel of 33-year-old Brit Leigh soon reveals itself to be a taut psychological thriller mostly worthy of its Kate Atkinson blurb. Popular crime novelist Lizbeth Greene is on the skids: secretly hooked on junk, she's pregnant by an indifferent boyfriend, and her new book is (surprise) a dud. Desperate to jump-start her declining career, Greene senses a hot story in Wilson Velez, the leader of New York's ultraviolent Sacred Incan Royals gang, who is serving a life sentence and has just finished five years in solitary confinement. Wilson plays a pitiful, demented wreck who still manages to advocate prison reform, write children's stories and claim his innocence; Lizbeth sees only a meal ticket. As the Silence of the Lambs-like interviews progress, Lizbeth learns the graphic and brutal details of prison life and of Wilson's rise as gang leader, and he learns how to subtly blackmail her. The elements are familiar, but Leigh's depictions of prison life are unusually intense, and the smarmy lawyer, clever priest and cynical federal gang task force he introduces add who-are-the-good-guys depth. The ending feels a bit strained, playing on Lizbeth's fiction writer's sense of what's real and what's invented, but it nicely incorporates the title's monsters, who are threaded in menacingly throughout. (Sept. 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A frustrated novelist looks to the real world for inspiration and gets more reality than she bargained for. Lizbeth Greene has parlayed a personal tragedy into a successful writing career; the story of her abduction by and escape from a serial killer was a smash bestseller. Since then, she's been churning out a steady stream of popular books featuring a detective with whom she shares similarities. At the start of Leigh's debut, Lizbeth is in free fall: isolated in her rural house, stymied and bored with writing (murmurs of declines in sales and quality are not helping) and dangerously close to resuming her heroin habit. Snapping her out of this funk is the case of Wilson Velez, who is serving a life sentence for his part in running The Royals, a Latino gang from Corona, Queens. Lizbeth sets up shop in the small Philadelphia town near the ultra-maximum-security prison holding Velez and starts interviewing him about his criminal past and literary future (he's written a creepy and impressive children's story about a pair of mischievous gargoyles in Gramercy Park), hoping to get another bestseller out of it. The bulk of Leigh's chilly, finely etched narrative shows Wilson and Lizbeth trying to outmaneuver each other. Nothing is as it seems, and little by little, Leigh pulls back the curtain on two characters who are not as innocent as they profess. A powerful, gloom-shadowed morality tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582346465
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/05/2005
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.19(d)

Meet the Author

Danny Leigh was born in 1972. He has previously worked as a musician and journalist. He lives in Brighton, England.

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The Monsters of Gramercy Park 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories within stories - psychological thriller! Powerful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pig in a poke reluctant