“Like the best black practitioners, Murphy uses mystery as scaffolding to piece together a world of fallen dreams and doomed characters. . . Murphy’s harsh rendering of the city is simply exquisite . . . For anyone who wants a portrait of this New York, few recent books have evoked it so vividly.” —The New York Times book review

A sharp and stylish debut from the editor of CrimeReads in which an unwitting private detective finds himself caught in a crime of obsession between a reclusive literary superstar and her bookseller husband, paying homage to the black genre as cleverly as he reinvents it

After leaving the comforts and chains of a prestigious law firm, a restless attorney makes ends meet in mid-2000s Brooklyn by taking odd jobs with a colorful assortment of clients. When a mysterious woman named Anna Reddick shows up at her apartment with ten thousand dollars in cash and asks her to find her missing husband, Newton, an antiquarian bookseller who she believes has stolen rare true crime volumes from his collection, he hopes he will. be a quick and easy case. But when the real Anna Reddick – a magnetic but unpredictable literary prodigy – lands on his doorstep with a few bones to pick up, he finds himself out of his depth, drawn into a series of deceptions involving Joseph Conrad novels, unscrupulous booksellers, aspiring strollers and seedy real estate developers.

With New York as a backdrop at the end of the analog era and immersed in the worlds of literature and bookstores, an honest life is a gripping story of artistic ambition, obsession, and the petty crimes we commit against each other every day.

Irene B. Bowles