Books by Mark Miano

DEAD OF SUMMER by Mark Miano
Released: April 1, 1999

Not just summer, either; there are enough corpses to carpet all four seasons in this high-casualty but curiously unengaging, whodunit. Everything starts when Channel 8 newswriter Michael Carpo (The Street Where She Lived, 1998, etc.), arriving in Bridgewater, Conn., for his annual week of housesitting for black journalist Jack Crawford, finds Jack gruesomely dead on his bathroom floor, his black Lab standing terrified vigil over the body. State Trooper Walker pronounces the death a suicide, but Jack's ex-neighbor Elizabeth Jessup insists that Jack's death has left "a ripple" that means he's died before his time, and with outside help. Crazy talk, thinks Carpo—until Bethie Jessup is drowned herself, propelling Carpo to the New Milford library to research other suspicious deaths in a heroic leap of logic typical of Carpo's maddeningly intuitive methods. Still, over the past two years, it turns out, somebody's declared open season on the senior citizens of the forgotten hamlet of Southville; no fewer than six graves mark his (or her) earlier successes. Naturally, Trooper Walker shakes off the evidence of wholesale slaughter, leaving Carpo free to pursue the case on his own, with time-outs for a decorous whirlwind romance with neighboring painter Amanda Cutler, who's got an unguessable surprise up her own sleeve. Despite gallons of gore, it's hard to care about homicide when the victims are little more than names and the hero's kind of a blank slate too. The culprit could be the lowest-impact serial killer in the business. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1998

Because he's the kind of can-do guy who responds to screams outside his apartment by looking out the window and rushing into the street instead of dialing 911 or pulling down the shades, Channel 8 newswriter Michael Carpo (Flesh and Stone, 1997) gets a glimpse of the trench-coated figure fleeing from still-alive Irene Foster, the neighbor who discovered flight attendant Cheryl Street's gruesome murder. Even though Carpo can't identify the fleeing man any more definitely than fellow-witness Tommy Abilene can, the cops are especially interested in working with him because for over a year the Sandman has been butchering brown-eyed women and cutting out their eyes. So it's no wonder the police offer to give him exclusive access to Cheryl's hush-hush funeral—a kindness that backfires in the biggest of this anemic novel's few surprises. For the most part, though, Carpo puts in his time trudging from door to door interviewing Cheryl's unforthcoming neighbors for a profile he's writing of the Sandman's latest murder. Concentrating on the sixth victim of a serial killer is a tactic that would never yield a break in real life, of course; here, at least (and at most), it jump-starts a romance with Irene Foster. Despite Carpo's Everyman appeal, a humdrum entry in the serial-killer genre. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

How cold is it in New York? So cold that WIBN-TV newswriter Michael Carpo's buying coffee for the streetwalkers outside his building. So cold that Athena Galleries owner Frank Werner, who phoned Carpo begging for an appointment to talk, is in the Central Park reservoir under four feet of ice. When Carpo finds out that Werner was knocked out, lobotomized, and given a grotesque facial cosmetic job all before that phone call, he realizes he's been set up by somebody who knows an awful lot about him—like his former lover Karen Blackwell, the Metropolitan Museum curator whose name the bogus Werner had used to get Carpo's attention. Frosty Karen insists she doesn't know Werner; press photos link them as close professional acquaintances—Karen had authenticated a number of Werner's most spectacular acquisitions—and hint at even more intimate relations; and before Carpo can set the record straight, for the TV audience and himself, he's been suspended from his job, left twisting slowly in the wind to figure out what a mail order of cochineal insects has to do with Werner's latest and priciest offering, a fabulous bust of Cleopatra. Miano's first novel kicks off with an appealingly strong situation—the backbiting in the WIBN newsroom crackles with tension—before trailing off in drably unconvincing dialogue and a shrilly unconvincing villain. Read full book review >