Shutter Man / A Byrne and Balzano Thriller
(Read about the U.K. edition here.)
Your face is a blur to him. But your body still bleeds.
Billy is an excellent killer: strategic, methodical, ritualistic. If only he knew what his victims looked like…
Plagued with a rare disease that prevents him from recognizing faces, the photograph Billy carries in his pocket is his only way to identify his next target.
Detective Kevin Byrne is assigned to a series of bizarre home invasion cases, and the closer he investigates, clues point to the fact that they are not random. When Assistant District Attorney Jessica Balzano gets assigned to the investigation, she finds herself once again working with her old partner Byrne. As their investigations circle Byrne's childhood neighborhood of Devil's Pocket, they find themselves revisiting a crime from Byrne's past that has haunted him for decades.
And now, what Byrne witnessed as a child in Devil's Pocket could make him the next target on Billy’s hit list…
“Richard Montanari’s elegiac tone takes the curse off Shutter Man, a blood-drenched thriller about a group of imperfectly domesticated boys who came from the same blighted neighborhood and grew up to become criminals and killers — and cops.”
- The New York Times
[*Starred Review*] "In Montanari’s exceptional ninth procedural featuring Det. Kevin Byrne and ADA Jessica Balzano (after 2015’s The Doll Maker), Kevin investigates a series of odd, violent home invasions scattered throughout Philadelphia. While the victims appear to have little connection, clues prove these murders aren’t random. The reader knows that the killer is Michael Farren, a member of an Irish crime family with a vendetta to enforce. Michael, who calls himself Billy the Wolf, has an unusual handicap: he suffers from face blindness, which makes it impossible for him to recognize people by their faces. The murders turn out to echo a decades-old crime committed in the Devil’s Pocket neighborhood during Kevin’s childhood there. Montanari takes care to show the humanity in each character, even in the criminals. As Kevin’s investigation intensifies, the brisk plot quickly becomes an engrossing story of a neighborhood’s residents—those who escape, those who stay, and those who are buried there." - Publishers Weekly
“A textured portrait not just of a troubled man, but also of an entire family . . . Montanari is a fine craftsman, and, like most of his books, this one works well as a stand-alone and as part of a larger story.” - Booklist
“Montanari creates rich, interesting characters. Those who like their bad guys depraved, killings graphic, and violence amped to high volume will find this to their liking” - Kirkus Reviews
"Montanari’s newest series offering (after The Doll Maker) includes spooky and mystical elements in this story of hardscrabble living, remorse, and renewal." - Library Journal
"This is a tense, suspenseful read with a twist at the end. There are a lot of surprises and no end of odd characters. This author keeps you reading. - Journey of a Bookseller
"Billy is an unusual killer. A member of Philadelphia's notorious Farren family, he has a disease that prevents him from recognizing faces. As a result, he carries a photograph of his target at all times. As Detective Kevin Byrne traces the murders to his own childhood home, Shutter Man begins a dizzying journey through multiple generations of crimes and their perpetrators."
A chilling expose . . . skillfully woven with a couple of surprising twists at the end . . . as ever with Montanari, the relationship between Balzano and Byrne is compelling. A great summer read! " - CrimeWarp