For fans of Craig Johnson and James Lee Burke—False Positive follows up the powerful punch of Andrew Grant’s novel RUN with a staggering second dose of thrills and suspense that is just as smart, atmospheric, and soul-searing.
Alabama detective Cooper Devereaux makes no apologies for his luxe lifestyle or the way he does his job. Most cops haven’t lived the kind of life he has—starting out as an orphan, raised by a grizzled cop savior—and most don’t use his kind of high-risk tactics. But he may have met his match in fellow detective Jan Loflin, who’s fresh off a long undercover stint in Vice when they’re partnered on a case that will test them both beyond their direst nightmares.
A seven-year-old boy has disappeared from his home in the Birmingham suburbs. But the more Devereaux digs into the missing child’s background, the more he discovers about his own, eventually shaking loose a series of harrowing truths—about bloodlines, mass murder, obsession, and what two damaged detectives have in common with the innocent victim they’re so desperate to save. This twisty page-turner—the debut of the Detective Cooper Devereaux series—hurtles at a mile a minute through an action-packed search for a missing child, culminating in an ending that no reader will see coming.
Praise for False Positive
“A fast-moving thriller . . . Readers who like defects in their heroes will love this guy, who knows he’s not as good as he’d like to be. The final twist comes just as all finally seems well with the world. A dark, enjoyable novel. One of Grant’s better works.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Engrossing . . . Action-driven, the book’s pace never stops until the startling conclusion, which will chill to the core.”—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)
Praise for Andrew Grant’s RUN
“An adrenaline-fueled thrill ride that will have your head spinning and your heart pounding.”—Joseph Finder
“High stakes, high tension, and nonstop action . . . Hang on and enjoy this smart, original, and fast-paced adventure.”—Hank Phillippi Ryan
“Relentless, twisty, and blistering fast, it’s a book you don’t dare start at bedtime.”—Sean Chercover
“A whizbang of a novel with just the right dose of smart-ass.”—Chelsea Cain
“Breathtakingly fast-paced.”—Harlan Coben
“A perfect thriller—smart, fast, and blazing with nonstop surprises.”—Robert Crais
About the Author
Andrew Grant is the author of RUN, False Positive, and False Friend. He was born in Birmingham, England. He attended the University of Sheffield, where he studied English literature and drama. He ran a small independent theater company, and subsequently worked in the telecommunications industry for fifteen years. Grant and his wife, the novelist Tasha Alexander, live on a wildlife preserve in Wyoming.
Read an Excerpt
Friday. Late Afternoon.
“I lied.” The woman leaned against the minivan and felt the warmth of the afternoon sun radiate into her back from the shiny white metal. She took a moment to imagine the impact her words were having at the other end of the line. Then she went back to watching the handful of cars and SUVs that were scattered throughout the lengthening shadows of Caffee Junction’s horseshoe-shaped parking lot. There were more of them than she’d have liked. More than there’d been the previous two Fridays. But that was a minor detail, she told herself. An irritation. No reason to pull the plug.
“I see.” Lieutenant Hale’s grip on the dull-gray plastic handset grew tighter, and she wrestled the urge to smash it to pieces on her paper-strewn desk. She’d been moments away from leaving her office when the phone rang. Now there’d be no chance of beating the afternoon rush. A fitting end to an already dire week, she thought, flipping her little robot-shaped clock facedown on a stack of files. She didn’t need to see the jagged second hand relentlessly taunting her as it swept around the dial. “You lied. Mind telling me why?”
“Simple. Money. I was paid to say what I said.”
“Who paid you?”
“I don’t know.”
“How much did you get?”
“In one go?”
“No. Five grand before I made the call. Five after. And five when the guy’s suspension was confirmed.”
“That’s a lot of money for one phone call.”
“Why are you changing your story now?”
“I’ve got the money now. A chance to start over. I’m driving to my sister’s, in San Diego. And I wanted to set the record straight before I get there.”
“OK. Then this is what I need you to do. Come to the precinct. Write down what you just told me. Sign it. And stick around a couple of days, while we get this straightened out.”
“Can’t. Already left town.”
“Then come back. Just for a couple days.”
“No way. It’s too dangerous. If whoever paid me finds out I’m talking to you . . .”
“They won’t. We can help you. Get you somewhere safe to stay. A hotel.”
“A hotel? Are you kidding me? I want a fresh start. A hotel’s the worst place for someone like me. I’m not coming back to Birmingham. Ever. I’m hanging up now and—”
“Wait. You want to start over, you need a clear conscience. If you don’t sign a statement, nothing will change. The detective will stay on suspension. There’ll be an investigation. His career will be ruined. And that’ll be on you.”
“Why? That doesn’t make sense. I’m telling the truth this time.”
“How do I know that? Maybe you were telling the truth the first time, and you’re lying now.”
“What does it matter when I was lying? Point is, I’m a liar. My word’s not worth shit, either way.”
“How do I know you’re even who you say you are? Do you know how many crank calls I’ve had since the story hit the papers?”
“You know who I am. I used those code words you gave me when I called before.”
“Conversations can be overheard. Code words can be bought. Or given away. Or stolen. They’re a good start, but they’re not conclusive. I need more.”
“You’ve got my caller ID. You can see I’m using the same phone. And you record all your calls, right? You can compare the tapes.”
“I will. Count on it. But I still need more.”
“OK. I can give you more. When I called, Tuesday, I had this all planned out. I figured the story would leak. So I added something on top of what I’d been told to say. As insurance. I told you the detective had bitten me. Somewhere private. Remember? You wanted pictures. Doctors’ reports.”
Lieutenant Hale didn’t reply. When she’d first spoken to this woman, her head had told her to reach for the rule book. As squad commander, she’d done what she was required to do. But as an ex–street cop, every nerve in her body had screamed. She’d felt like she was back in uniform, tiptoeing into an alley at night. And now, with this second call, it was as if an invisible hand was shoving her deeper into the darkness.
“And I was right.” The woman walked to the front of the van, taking care not to snag her heels in the cracks in the sun-bleached pavement. “You were loyal to your guy. You kept that part out of the papers. No one else but me could know about it.”
“I can’t. I’m going now. I’ve got a lot of ground to cover. You’re the police. I’m trusting you. Do the right thing.”
The woman ended the call. She broke the old-style flip-phone in half. Dropped the pieces on the ground. Climbed into the van. Scowled at the shiny, goalpost-shaped H in the center of the steering wheel. Fired up the engine. Looped around the squat redbrick building, keeping her speed low as the van bounced clumsily across the pitted blacktop. Kept her distance from a blue Ford station wagon that was looking for a space in the shade. Then she left the parking lot. Followed the road back toward the interstate. And took the first on-ramp she reached.
The one that led northeast.
Back to the Magic City.
Saturday. Early Morning.
I’m in the closet. In the hallway. Two boards are loose. In the floor. I pull them up. Wriggle into the space below. Slide one back in place, above me. Hook my arm through the gap. Grab Daddy’s spare boots. Put them on the board, so it’ll look like it hasn’t been moved. Slide the other board back. Then settle down in the dark, to wait.
Just me and the bugs and the spiders.
Why’s Daddy so late? I want him to come home. I want him to find me, so I can come out. I’m hungry. And I need the bathroom. Real bad.
The front door opens, but the creaks don’t sound the way they’re supposed to. The door doesn’t close all the way. Daddy doesn’t step into the hall. He doesn’t kick off his boots. He doesn’t start looking for me. He doesn’t begin our game, the way he always does.
Someone shouts: “This is the police.”
But it can’t be the police, because Daddy’s the police and it isn’t Daddy’s voice. It’s another man’s. A stranger’s. Coming to hurt me?
“Police! Show yourself. Whoever’s in the house, show yourself. Right now.”
I know the rules. Never come out. Wait for Daddy to find me. Whatever anyone says. It’s the only way to stay safe. I hold my breath. Lie extra still.
“Come on.” Another voice that isn’t Daddy’s. “The kid’s got to be here, somewhere. We’ve got to find him . . .”
Cooper Devereaux’s subconscious took the sound of the blows raining down on his cabin door and merged them into his dream. They became footsteps. Invading his house. Heading down the hallway. Reaching the closet. He was seconds away from being discovered . . .
But the noise kept on getting louder. It didn’t stop. Ten seconds thundered by. Twenty. And that wasn’t right. That wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Something stirred, deep inside Devereaux’s brain. It dragged him back to wakefulness, chasing away the unwelcome echoes from the past, leaving him blinking and disoriented on his moldering leather couch.
“Hello?” Devereaux reached down, picked his gun up from the floor, and pulled it back beneath his empty, stained, patchwork comforter cover. “Who is it?”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This first in a new series by Andrew Grant introduces us to Birmingham, Alabama detective Cooper Devereaux. He is partnered with equally unconventional Jan Loflin, just coming off a long undercover stint in Vice, tasked with finding a seven-year-old boy who has disappeared from his suburban home. Devereaux himself has just recently been taken off suspension. Suffice it to say that he has an unconventional way of doing his job, which had ultimately caught up with him. From the publisher: The more Devereaux digs into the missing child’s background, the more he discovers about his own, eventually shaking loose a series of harrowing truths - - about bloodlines, mass murder, obsession, and what two damaged detectives have in common with the innocent victim they’re so desperate to save. Complicating things even further is Devereaux’ discovery of the dead body of a woman at one point in his investigation. It soon becomes apparent that the boy’s kidnapping is just the latest in a long list of kidnappings whose victims were all orphans. Devereaux, an orphan himself, becomes even more deeply emotionally involved than he had been. This is so much more than just a police procedural, filled as it is with unraveling truths dealing with bloodlines, mass murder, and obsession, much of that in Devereaux’ own background. Interspersed between many chapters are extracts from Police Files and Court records on Devereaux, calling into question just what is and is not true about him. As well, the reader doesn’t discover the identity of the kidnapper (till then just referred to as “the woman”) until quite late in the book, and the suspense abounds until, and even after, that point. And the meaning of the title, “False Positive,” doesn’t become apparent until just a bit earlier than that. Devereaux’ father, also a cop, had been killed, or so he had always believed, in the line of duty, nearly 40 years ago. Just one of many things as to his own background which he discovers during the course of the investigation, to his shock and dismay. And the turn the novel takes as it nears its end is thoroughly unexpected. This suspenseful novel is recommended.
I loved this book - it grabbed my attention from the first page and kept me engaged until the very last page. It is a well crafted mystery/thriller based on a horrific premise that kept me guessing through most of the book. Cooper is a police detective that is at the top of his game, but plays it right on the edge. That has led to many problems over the course of his career, so when he lands a missing child case he will leave no stone unturned to find the child.....legal or less than legal. Then the search becomes even more personal and he will do anything to find the child. If you like a well crafted and fast moving book, you have found it in False Positive. This is a must read for fans of the genre. I have added the author to my must read authors' list.