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The Whole Lie (Conway Sax Mystery) by Steve…

The Whole Lie (Conway Sax Mystery) (2012)

by Steve Ulfelder

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Hard-assed ex-con Conway Sax is a man on a mission. Former alcoholic, current member of the Barnburners, Sax's personal creed is to always helps a Barnburner, no questions asked. When ex-love, ex-Barnburner Savvy Kane comes to town with blackmail on her mind and ends up dead, Conway is out to avenge her death, even if it means sacrificing his own relationship with Charlene.

The Whole Lie is an engaging tale of blackmail and corruption, politics and alcoholism. A fast-paced, enjoyable read. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Jun 15, 2013 |
Conway Sax can’t seem to catch a break. He tries. God knows he tries. But no matter how desperately he wants to walk the straight and narrow, something always seems to pull him off track and into trouble of one kind or another. Ironically enough, it’s usually Conway’s desire to do the right thing that lands him in the wrong place.

A recovering alcoholic, Conway belongs to a tight-knit group of AA members known as the Barnburners. Given his physical size and status as an ex-con, Conway has become the group’s de facto “problem solver.” When a Barnburner asks for help, Conway responds. No questions. No excuses.

Savannah Kane was a Barnburner. Seven years ago she was in trouble and Conway helped her disappear. Now she’s back, and Conway can’t help but remember the passionate affair they had, and all the trouble she got him into. Some things change. Conway has a life and business now with his longtime girlfriend and isn’t interested in rekindling the flame with Savannah. Some things, however, stay the same. Savannah’s still a Barnburner. And she’s still getting Conway into trouble.

The Whole Lie, author Steve Ulfelder’s follow-up to the Edgar Award nominated Purgatory Chasm, finds Conway drawn into the sleazy world of politics in the form of the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. Turns out Savannah has connections to Lieutenant Governor candidate billionaire Bert Saginaw, and there are bad things happening around the campaign. Initially brought in to get to the bottom of a blackmail situation, Conway soon finds himself dealing with murder… and an extreme crisis of conscience.

While painfully well aware of his past mistakes, Conway’s deep sense of loyalty to those he feels helped him through one of the darkest times in his life keeps leading him to repeat many of those same mistakes. He knows better intellectually, but there’s something deeper, something down in the very fabric of his DNA that just won’t let him walk away.

Ulfelder has created a fresh, compelling lead in Conway Sax, a character precariously straddling the line between invincible tough guy and vulnerable emotional wreck. The conflicts Conway struggles with, both internally and externally, are as real and raw as it gets, and Ulfelder’s portrayal of a man torn between his loyalty to the past and hope for the future is nothing short of masterful. It’s the guaranteed truth that you will be taken in by The Whole Lie. ( )
  AllPurposeMonkey | Jun 22, 2012 |
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When Savvy Kane walked into my shop, I was wrestling the rotted muffler from a Maxima.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Praise for The Whole Lie


“The Massachusetts gubernatorial race forms the backdrop for Ulfelder’s excellent sequel to his Edgar-finalist debut, Purgatory Chasm… Readers will want to see more of Ulfelder’s tough but vulnerable lead, whose narration offers a warts-and-all view of his multifaceted character.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review


Savvy hadn’t changed.  She was smarter than you and didn’t mind letting you know it.  She’d whip you up and down trying to get her way.  But we weren’t lovers any more—and she’d stopped being a Barnburner long ago.  Still…


Conway Sax, the no-nonsense auto mechanic with a knack for solving difficult problems for the Barnburners, the renegade AA group who saved his life, is back in The Whole Lie.  And for once, he thinks normalcy is within reach. He’s opening a new garage, and he’s finally moved in with longtime girlfriend Charlene.  The end of his parole is finally in sight. Then along comes Savannah Kane: smart, smoky, and a pusher of men’s buttons. Seven years ago, Conway helped her disappear—but not before they had a sizzling, knock-down-drag-out affair. Now she’s back with a shocking revelation: she’s the mother of a six-year-old boy. Savvy claims her son’s father is billionaire Bert Saginaw, but Conway (not to mention Charlene) knows she’s back for more than just a family reunion. 

Saginaw wants to be Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. Savvy wants to get paid. Conway wants nothing to do with either of them. But when Savvy turns up brutally murdered, he’s got no choice but to sort lies from truth – even though doing so may cost him his freedom, his lover, and his life in this thrilling and heart-wrenching follow-up to critically acclaimed novel Purgatory Chasm, in the tradition of Robert B. Parker and Dennis Lehane.


Praise for Steve Ulfelder and Purgatory Chasm


“Ulfelder smoothly steers his plot from one hairpin twist to the next… Conway [is] both tough and vulnerable, a man who has made too many mistakes in his life and, unfortunately, will make even more. Purgatory Chasm is a superb beginning for an author who shows much promise.” –South Florida Sun-Sentinel


 “A refreshing new character solving hardcore crimes…. crisp plotting, hard-boiled style and realistic dialogue.” —Associated Press


“Combines elements of the thriller with tales of tangled families. Violence runs through the novel, but Ulfelder tempers it with compassion — and evocative prose. Purgatory Chasm may be hardboiled, but it's heart-wrenching, too.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch


“Working throughout is the edgy, self-effacing voice of a flawed main character, a good guy with plenty of baggage who’s just trying stay alive and to get it right this time.” –The Boston Globe


“Ulfelder couples precise, evocative prose with an original private investigator in his compelling hard-boiled debut…. Ulfelder smoothly navigates the many plot twists, and effortlessly introduces wrinkles in his protagonist's backstory that enhance the character.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:22 -0400)

Seven years ago, Conway helped Savannah disappear--but not before they had a sizzling, knock-down-drag-out affair. Now she's back with a shocking revelation. But when she turns up brutally murdered, Conway has no choice but to sort lies from truth.

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