Guest review by Austin Morgan
Steve Ulfelder’s Purgatory Chasm is a great way to start off a writing career. I get to read a lot of debut novels, frequently before they are published. I feel this gives me more experience in identifying some of the foibles new authors frequently work through in the first books. I didn’t see any of the typical beginner jitters from Steve Ulfelder. Then I googled Steve and found out he is not kicking off a writing career, he has been a journalist for 20 years. Of course converting journalism to novel writing is a difficult skill also and Steve has speed past the competition.
What stuck me most about Purgatory Chasm was that it was obvious that Steve knows Conway Sax very well.
Conway Sax strangely reminds me a lot of Rooster Cogburn from True Grit. He charges into the fray without a plan and some how comes out on the other side mostly unscathed. He also will follow a job no matter what it costs him both financially or health wise even after his client is dead.
The mystery is deep and satisfying. And while Steve has tried to hide the fact, the mystery is not what this book is really about. Because I googled Steve I happen to know that he is working on a sequel to Purgatory Chasm. I am very interested where he will be taking this character.
So why did I only give this book a 4 out of 5? There wasn’t a sympathetic character in the novel. There were a few characters on the up and up, but those were sidekicks that did not change much during the story. There is a hint that Conway is really trying to turn a new leaf, except he still doesn’t see anything wrong with breaking someone’s nose if he feels one of his friends has been wronged.
I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good mystery, especially if they like gritty characters.
Title: Purgatory Chasm
Author: Steve Ulfelder
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
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