Winner of the 2012 Hammett Prize
Praising Oregon Hill, The New York Times says Howard Owen is "a writer we can't wait to hear again".
Willie Black has squandered a lot of things in his life - his liver, his lungs, a couple of former wives and a floundering daughter can all attest to his abuse. He's lucky to be employed, having managed to drink and smart-talk his way out of a nice, cushy job covering (and partying with) the politicians down at the capitol.
Now, he's back on the night corps beat, right where he started when he came to work for the Richmond paper almost 30 years ago. The thing Willie's always had going for him, though, all the way back to his hardscrabble days as a mixed-race kid on Oregon Hill, where white was the primary color and fighting was everyone's favorite leisure pastime, was grit. His mother, the drug-addled Peggy, gave him that if nothing else. He never backed down then, and he shows no signs of changing.
When a co-ed at the local university where Willie's daughter is a perpetual student is murdered, her headless body found along the South Anna River, the hapless alleged killer is arrested within days. Everyone but Willie seems to think: Case Closed. But Willie, against the orders and advice of his bosses at the paper, the police and just about everyone else, doesn't think the case is solved at all. He embarks on a one-man crusade to do what he's always done: get the story.
On the way, Willie runs afoul of David Junior Shiflett, a nightmare from his youth who's now a city cop, and awakens another dark force, one everyone thought disappeared a long time ago. And a score born in the parking lot of an Oregon Hill beer joint 40 years ago will finally be settled.
The truth is out there. Willie Black's going to dig it out or die trying.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Howard Owen grew up near Fayetteville, North Carolina. He and his wife, Karen, live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and are editors for The Free Lance-Star. This is his tenth novel. his earlier works include: Littlejohn, Fat Lightning, Rock of Ages, and The Reckoning. The protagonist of Oregon Hill, Willie Black, first appeared in a short story, The Thirteenth Floor, which was part of Richmond Noir.Review:
"Owen knows his setting, his dialogue is spot-on and his grasp of the down-and-dirty work of the police and news reporters lends authenticity to the narrative. This is Southern literature as expected, with a touch of noir, and with a touch of Dennis Lehane s Mystic River. Willie Black deserves a sequel."--Kirkus
"Oregon Hill is a wondrous trip into the world of sarcastic newspaper reporters, bad cops, and murder most foul. Having worked as a newspaper reporter, Mr. Owen writes in a captivating voice, his acute observations granting authenticity to the bullet-speed pace of the story. Newspaperman Willie Black is masterfully created, ink and dark humor coursing through his hardboiled veins. It is hoped that this is the beginning of a series of books staring Willie and crew. Bring on the sequel!"--NY Journal of Books
"Character-driven crime fiction executed with style."--Booklist
"Off-beat characters such as peripatetic drifter Awesome Dude and Owen's spot-on take on the slow death of a newspaper (shrinking pages, repeated staff cuts, on-line presence, blogging, etc.) add ballast. The deft and surprising plot builds to a satisfying ending. Readers will hope that Willie will soon return in a sequel."--Publishers Weekly
"Place and culture play such a vital part in this mystery, the question is not so much who-dun-it as what-isn't-he-telling and how-does-he-know. The narrator s voice is convincing throughout and the characters leap from the page. Acts of remembrance, compassion and love are redefined by accident, choice or conviction. And the reader is pulled into the realities and compromises of an imperfect world, made just perfect enough in this story to carry the weight of hope and a future." --Café Libre
"While the narrative is certainly compelling, what gives Oregon Hill a degree of heft is its commentary on the fate of print journalism in the digital age. To an extent, the novel decries the sad state of affairs created by the dwindling readership for traditional newspapers. At the same time, however, Owen is careful not to indulge in too much hand-wringing, as his protagonist is quick to recognize the value of so-called new media even if he's somewhat reluctant to embrace it. In this sense, Oregon Hill looks forward as much as it looks back, and offers a fairly complex look at our culture's current relationship with journalism. Reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen's Basket Case, Oregon Hill is as smart as it is thrilling, a true literary page-turner."--Small Press Reviews
"If anyone is watching out for the forgotten citizens of Oregon Hill, it's Willie, who grew up there and speaks the local language, a crisp and colorful urban idiom we can't wait to hear again." --The New York Times
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description The Permanent Press, 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111579622089
Book Description Permanent Pr Pub Co, 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. first edition edition. 240 pages. 8.74x5.83x0.94 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1579622089