Detective Cliff Janeway loves books, occasionally adding rare and coveted ones to his collection. When called in on a murder case, he discovers that it is Bobby the Bookscout , lying in an alley, murdered. Janeway knew him as a harmless guy who bought collectible books at bargain prices, reselling them for large profits to some of Denver’s local book sellers. Bobby looked like a bum, living very cheaply, hoping to someday make a great score on his finds. Cliff eagerly pursues his nemesis, Jackie Newton as a possible suspect, hoping that this lowlife thug is the guilty party, thus giving the legal system an opportunity to put Jackie away forever. Though the detectives find him innocent of this particular crime, the investigation leads to the discovery of other crimes. Janeway’s obsession with Jackie costs him his job. He then follows his dream of opening a small bookstore. Meanwhile other bodies turn up. Other lives are turned around as Cliff continues to try to find the killer. This was an intense page turner, with subplots and a lot of information about the rare book business, what I think of as a very good read.— Nancy Nelson
Booked to Die, the first book in John Dunning’s bestselling, award-winning Cliff Janeway series, is “a joy to read for its wealth of inside knowledge about the antiquarian book business and its eccentric traders” (The New York Times Book Review).
Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he’s an avid collector of rare and first editions. Bobby Westfall is a local bookscout, a gentle and quiet man who has sold enough valuable books to keep himself and his cats fed and housed. When Bobby is murdered, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect’s spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway’s wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge.
Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop—all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. When prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now Janeway’s life is about to change in profound and shocking ways as he attempts to find out who’s dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.
“One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read” (The Denver Post), Booked to Die is the first in the Cliff Janeway series. It is “a standout piece of crime fiction…Compelling page-turning stuff” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
About the Author
John Dunning has revealed some of book collecting’s most shocking secrets in his bestselling series of crime novels featuring Cliff Janeway: Booked to Die, which won the prestigious Nero Wolfe award; The Bookman’s Wake, a New York Times Notable Book; and the New York Times bestsellers The Bookman’s Promise, The Sign of the Book, and The Bookwoman’s Last Fling. He is also the author of the Edgar Award-nominated Deadline, The Holland Suggestions, and Two O’Clock, Eastern Wartime. An expert on rare and collectible books, he owned the Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver for many years. He lives in Denver, Colorado. Visit OldAlgonquin.com.
New York Times Book Review A joy to read...[A] whodunit in the classic mode.
The Denver Post A knockout....One of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time.
The Philadephia Inquirer A standout piece of crime fiction...Compelling page-turning stuff.
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Irresistible....An outstanding novel.
Boston Sunday Globe I am...an unabashed admirer of John Dunning's Booked to Die. No one...can fail to be delighted by the sort of folkloric advice Janeway carries with him.
San Francisco Chronicle Fascinating...Assured and muscular prose...Very cannily and creepily, Dunning shows how quiet men with civilized tastes can turn into killers...The payoff, in pleasure, is for the reader.
United Press International Very credible...An involved tale that satisfies the mystery reader's wants.
Mystery Scene Memorable...Compellng...Vivdly realistic...Fascinating and utterly convincing...A suspenseful, well-crafted mystery that should keep readers guessing right up to the closing paragraph. This novel, friends, is a keeper.
St. Petersburg Times (FL) A perfect mystery. It's intelligently written; the action is bafflingly logical; the reader learns something, and it's got a sucker punch of a finale.
Publishers Weekly (starred review) Crisp, direct prose and nearly pitch-perfect dialogue enhance this meticulously detailed page-turner.