Book Review and Giveaway: Purgatory Chasm

Guest review by Austin Morgan

Purgatory Chasm Book CoverSteve 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.

Rating: 4/5

Title: Purgatory Chasm
Author: Steve Ulfelder
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-67292-8


This is another’s First Reads book.  This is a great service in which you can sign up to receive books either before or just after they are released.

The Contest:
To win this copy of this book leave a comment on this post.


  1. Only comments left at will be entered in the contest
  2. You will receive the exact same Advanced Review Copy I received from the publisher
  3. You must live in the US to win
  4. Contest ends on Sunday June 19, 2011 at 11:59 PM CT
  5. The winner will be contacted via e-mail, the winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.
Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery/Suspense.


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