Monday, April 27, 2009

Peter de Jonge's new novel, Shadows Still Remain, is a tour de force that transcends the mystery genre to take its place among the greats

We spent the weekend reading Shadows Still Remain, a new mystery thriller about a bright and beautiful NYU student who goes missing and turns up dead on the Lower East Side, and the tough rebel female detective who gets the case and spends the rest of the book trying to hang onto it.

The book’s been out less than a week in the States and already it’s got fan pages and readers asking about a sequel— and with good reason. Shadows Still Remain is the best mystery of the year so far.

We know the author. Peter de Jonge got his sheepskin from Princeton, cut his teeth on small town newspapers, polished his craft writing magazine features and made his bones co-authoring three books with James Patterson (the most successful of which contained a character named Burt Kearns, but we’ll get to that another time).

Shadows Still Remain is de Jonge's first solo and he wrings every last bloody note out of it. Through economy, empathy, detail, wit and a dark, resigned view of humanity’s potential for depravity, he brings the world and its characters to life and keeps the reader hooked as expertly as Richard Price, who covers similar territory in his latest book that’s out now in paperback.

With hard-rocking, hard-drinking hard luck girl detective Darlene O’Hara, de Jonge has created his Harry Bosch, a literary character of great unplumbed depths who’s sure to be welcomed in periodic returns over the next couple of decades.

We’re not going to give away too much. You buy a copy and try to find the time to rip through it as quickly as we did. The title Shadows Still Remain is taken from a phrase from a line in a Guns N’ Roses song highlighted by Slash’s tour de force guitar solo. Peter de Jonge’s first solo is a tour de force of his own, a novel that transcends the mystery and police procedural genres to take its place among the great works of American literature.