Vertical Coffin (Shane Scully Series #4)

( 16 )

Overview

A nightmarish series of events sweeps LAPD's Sergeant Shane Scully and his wife (and boss), Alexa, into the vortex of an enormous, jurisdictional firestorm.

First, a sheriff's deputy, a friend of Shane's, is gunned down while serving a routine search warrant. His fellow deputies blame the incident on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, whom they angrily accuse of having failed to warn them that the suspect had a huge arsenal of illegal...

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Vertical Coffin (Shane Scully Series #4)

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Overview

A nightmarish series of events sweeps LAPD's Sergeant Shane Scully and his wife (and boss), Alexa, into the vortex of an enormous, jurisdictional firestorm.

First, a sheriff's deputy, a friend of Shane's, is gunned down while serving a routine search warrant. His fellow deputies blame the incident on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, whom they angrily accuse of having failed to warn them that the suspect had a huge arsenal of illegal weapons in his house.

Soon thereafter, a member of the ATF Situation Response Team is shot to death, followed by the sniper murder of the Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau. At the request of the Mayor, LAPD, as an uninvolved and unbiased agency, assigns Shane Scully to investigate.

He is given an impossible deadline to find a solution before these two elite and deadly SWAT Teams kill each other off amid a hurricane of horrible publicity. Shane pursues his investigation in a direction that neither his chief nor his wife agrees with, and succeeds in putting himself, his loved ones, and his career in terrible jeopardy before he finally discovers the shocking and deadly truth.

Stephen J. Cannell's Vertical Coffin is an electrifying, fast-paced thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The title of the latest entry in Cannell's Shane Scully LAPD series (Hollywood Tough; The Tin Collectors; The Viking Funeral) is police jargon for any doorway, which is where cops are most vulnerable when clearing a house. As the novel begins, Shane stumbles into a full-scale barricade shootout between gunman Vincent Smiley and surrounding police. After one of two competing SWAT teams at the scene burns down the barricaded house with Smiley in it, a fight over who is to blame begins to smolder. Several subsequent cop shootings (with all victims caught in the aforementioned vertical coffins) fan the SWAT team turf tussle into a conflagration that Shane and wife Alexa, the acting head of the LAPD Detective Services Group, are assigned to investigate. Shane, an old school detective, insists on starting from zero and looking into shooter Smiley's past. Everyone else wants him to forget the gumshoe routine and come up with an instant solution. The pleasure of Cannell's work isn't in the writing ("Bullets whined and ricocheted in a deadly concert of tortured metal"), but lies more often in the interesting procedural elements ("It's very hard to protect a crime scene, so I always start at the far edges first, and work in toward the body"). Shane's still a little rough around the edges, but despite too many pop psychology musings, he's a dependable and satisfying character. Readers will enjoy watching him puzzle out the twists and turns of the plot and watch breathlessly as he undertakes a climactic high-speed chase in a souped-up dune buggy on a military shooting range. (Jan.) Forecast: It's no surprise that Cannell's novels have a cinematic bent as he's the creator or co-creator of 38 television shows and author of more than 350 scripts for these shows. Solid publisher backing and a built-in fan base should push this one onto some bestseller lists. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Cannell's fictional LAPD cop, Shane Scully, is one tough S.O.B. In this latest outing, he finds himself in the middle of a law enforcement territorial war when he begins to investigate the murder of one of his friends from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. It seems as if both the sheriff and the feds arrived at the scene of the crime even though neither of their communications systems were compatible with the LAPD frequency. Shane is teamed with a female sheriff, and together they find themselves without friends in any law enforcement agencies. Scott Brick is brilliant at capturing the authentic language that the author brings to his works; Cannell is, quite simply, one of the best police procedural writers today. This will definitely be a popular item in all audio collections.-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Internecine warfare between feebies and sheriff's guys with the LAPD as peacemakers-could you believe-in this rousing bang-banger. Emo Rojas, sheriff's deputy, is gunned down by a trigger-happy sociopath named Vincent Smiley, who is subsequently gunned down by the cops. There's an aspect to this that enrages Rojas's colleagues. Evidence suggests that an AFT team callously let the deputy stumble into a trap. Later, an AFT agent is murdered, and the feds are convinced they're looking at payback. A powder-keg situation if ever there was one: law-enforcement folks drawing down on each other instead of the creeps, with the LA media having a field day. Powder-keg foretells a command performance by series hero Sergeant Shane Scully (Hollywood Tough, 2003, etc.). Charged by the mayor, the police chief, and by his lieutenant wife Alexa-acting head of the Detective Services Group-with peacekeeping through lickety-split case-cracking, Shane upsets one and all with a seemingly tangential approach. Sort out the feds and the deputies, never mind the sociopath, the brass insists. But Shane senses that short cuts are illusory here, that the only way to restore order to potential chaos is to cut to the why. Suicide-by-cop: a deliberate attempt to have the police do for him what he lacked the courage to do? That's the way conventional wisdom sees Smiley's demise. Too easy, thinks Shane. Sick, yes. Filled to the brim with self-loathing, that as well. But Vincent Smiley was much too bent on his own special brand of vengeance to be suicidal, Shane feels, and of course he's right, though by the time the smoke clears-and the cost is counted-he wishes he hadn't been. Action's been a reliable staple in the Scullyseries, but here Cannell gets the people right, too. A likable, believable cast makes this the best yet by the Rockford man. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour. Agent: Robert Gottlieb/Trident Media Group
From the Publisher
“Scully has ample opportunity to prove how ‘Hollywood tough’ he is...veteran writer/TV producer Cannell has concocted his special brand of reader candy.”—Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312934798
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/17/2005
  • Series: Shane Scully Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 184,480
  • Product dimensions: 4.14 (w) x 6.72 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Cannell (1941-2010) was the author of the bestselling Shane Scully books, including The Prostitute’s Ball, The Pallbearers, and Three Shirt Deal. He was also an Emmy Award winning television writer and producer, and in his thirty-five-year-career, he created or co-created more than forty TV series. Among his hits were The Rockford Files, Silk Stalkings, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Renegade, Wiseguy, and The Commish. He received numerous awards, including the Saturn Award - Life Career Award (2004), The Marlow Lifetime Achievement Award from Mystery Writers of America (2005), and the WGA Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement (2006). Having overcome severe dyslexia, Cannell was an avid spokesperson on the condition and an advocate for children and adults with learning disabilities.  He was a third-generation Californian and resided in the Pasadena area with his wife, Marcia, and their children.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    powerful police procedural

    Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Emo Rojas is handing out a routine warrant when Vincent Smiley kills him. Cops kill Vincent, but that is not the end of the story. The Sheriff¿s Department is outraged not because one of them was gunned down. With the amount of ammo stored inside Smiley¿s abode, they believe that the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco knew what their deceased comrade was walking into, but provided no warning. <P>Not long afterward, AFT Special Reaction Team member Billy Greenridge lies in a coffin with his compatriots convinced that this was payback for Emo¿s death. The only major neutral law enforcement group in Southern California is LAPD. The brass assigns Sergeant Shane Scully to keep the peace between the hostile armies by solving the second homicide. Shane alienates not only both bellicose sides but his wife and other superiors as he defies everyone by investigating Smiley, but not as a ¿suicide by cop¿ victim as his superiors including his wife believe. <P>The latest Scully tale is the best to date as the key players from both armed camps, several criminal elements, LAPD especially the hero¿s wife, his temporary Internal Affairs partner, and Shane seem so real. The tempers flaring make Shane¿s endeavor that much more difficult, but as a consequence that is more fun for the audience. Stephen J. Cannell is at the top of his game with this powerful police procedural that has the Blue Knights ready to war with one another unless Shane can prove in a rapid response that Greenridge¿s death was caused by a third party. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2004

    RIVETING READINGS

    Veteran voice performer Scott Brick gives an energetic and exciting reading to both the abridged and unabridged versions of Stephen J. Cannell's latest thriller. In an estimable professional career writer Cannell has created over 40 TV series, including The Rockford files, The A-Team, and The Commish. Such a background serves him well as he effortless segued into novel form introducing LAPD Investigator Shane Scully who is often aided and abetted by his wife, Alexa, also with the LAPD. Vertical Coffin, the fourth Scully novel, places Scully in a terrifying role - caught between what are apparently two battling agencies - the Sheriff's Department and the ATF. Trouble began when a psycho with a store of weapons was trapped and evidently killed in his burning house. Shortly thereafter officials of both agencies are shot at and murdered in vertical coffins. With the LAPD the only uninvolved entity Scully enters the case. But before he can untangle the interlocking layers of deceit he finds his hold on life becoming more tenuous with each day. Scott Brick has provided a riveting listening experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2004

    Another great Shane Scully adventure from Cannell!

    Just finished reading Vertical Coffin and it ranks up there with Cannell's other excellent Shane Scully novels like Hollywood Tough , Viking Funeral and Tin Collectors! Cannell weaves a page turning crime mystery for Scully to crack before all out war between Fed and Sheriff SWAT teams happens.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I have just discovered this series of books by Mr. Cannell and have enjoyed the characters he writes. The Shane Scully character is well written and an absorbing person.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    OMG - hire a spell checker!

    I would have really enjoyed the 2 books I bought in this series - had it not been for the continual spelling errors. I'm talking errors worse than an OCR program would make. To me, having to constantly decipher what a word was supposed to be really distracted from the storyline. I was extremely disappointed at the lack of quality of these books - I expect much, much more from such a prolific writer. I'm sorry that I spent the money on them.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2004

    This Novel Was So Good!

    Oh, wow! This novel was so good! I could not put it down once I started it. If you are a reader like me and enjoys getting lost in a terrifc book that keeps you on pins and needles throughout the entire read then this is the book for you. GREAT BOOK!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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