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The Innocents

Barre, Richard

86 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0802732615 / ISBN 13: 9780802732613
Published by Walker & Company, 1995
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed first edition/first printing. PI Wil Hardesty finds lost children, dead or's first novel is a bravura debut, with praise from Ross Thomas, Michael Connelly, James Crumley, Stephen Greenleaf and Michael Collins. We concur. Signed directly to title page. Bookseller Inventory # 1303270005

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Innocents

Publisher: Walker & Company

Publication Date: 1995

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


In 1990, a flash flood rips through a lonely section of the California desert, unearthing the skeletons of seven murdered children. Amid the outcry for justice following the discovery, the media gives them a name: The Innocents.
The Innocents case soon becomes a pressure cooker of media hype and political heat. Who are they? Who put them there? How were they killed? Clues are negligible: a nick in the bones that tells investigators the murder weapon was likely a knife, and a tarnisned Saint Christopher medal bearing the inscription Vaya Con Dios, Benito. Papa, 1967.
One man recognizes those words, fully understands their meaning; they were once inscribed on the final gift to a six-year-old son who promised to be good. The man is Ignacio Reyes. Reyes must find out who killed his child; he knows, however, that the answer will unleash long-buried demons of memory and desperation, he turns to Wil Hardesty, a troubled private investigator who knows all too well about such things. He still grieves for his own young son.
As Hardesty digs deep, aided by a risky deal with the law, he exposes monstrous crimes, other burdens of guilt to be shouldered and discarded, and the chance, finally, to forgive himself for his own loss. But now he and those close to him have become the hunted.


Author Richard Barre kicked off his Wil Hardesty series with this smart, psychologically nuanced first novel, which garnered a 1996 Shamus Award. As The Innocents opens, a flash flood in the California desert has uncovered the dessicated remains of seven children. The only clue to their identity: a worn St. Christopher medal inscribed "Vaya Con Dios, Benito. Papa, 1967."

Years before, as an impoverished Mexican peasant, Ignacio Reyes, sold his youngest son to a border runner. He used the money to bring his family over into the United States and open the first of his chain of successful restaurants, but he's been tortured with guilt ever since. Meanwhile, aging surfer, Vietnam vet, and private detective Wil Hardesty is wrestling with his own demons after his son's accidental drowning four years earlier and his own subsequent breakdown.

When Reyes contacts Wil, asking him to investigate the deaths of those seven children, Hardesty unearths far more than just bones--including artifacts from a bloodthirsty Santeria cult. The plot is gripping, the dialogue sharp, and the villains very villainous indeed, but the character of Wil Hardesty is what separates this mystery from the rest of the pack. More than just another private-eye-with-a-troubled-past, Hardesty is both complicated and flawed, a very real human who brings a lifetime's worth of pain, passion, and guilt to bear on solving this crime.

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