Books by Terence Faherty

THE QUIET WOMAN by Terence Faherty
Released: June 18, 2014

"This stand-alone from the author of two popular series (Dance in the Dark, 2011, etc.) has it all: great characters, a credible mystery, a touch of romance, a loving portrayal of Ireland and even a ghost."
A family trip to Ireland goes from bad to worse. Read full book review >
DANCE IN THE DARK by Terence Faherty
Released: April 15, 2011

"A valedictory sadness mutes Elliott's wisecracks and Faherty's plot twists but can't quench them."
1969. Scott Elliott (In a Teapot, 2005, etc.), the Hollywood Security Agency's brightest light, juggles two cases and a wife who doesn't want him to work either one. Read full book review >
RAISE THE DEVIL by Terence Faherty
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

" The brisk pace and sneaky puzzle make up for some flaccid, less-than-credible Hollywood types. "
Scott Elliott isn't the only one who thinks Bebe Brooks, producer Marcus Pioline's hot new box-office prospect, is a royal pain. Director Max Froy is exasperated by the havoc the temperamental starlet is playing with his shooting schedule. Writer Ella Engelhart is sick of hearing her lines mangled. Co-star Lillie Lacey is tired of all the retakes, and even more tired of seeing her daughter Jewel upstaged by a no-talent bimbo. But it's only Elliott, an ex-leading man whose 15 minutes of Hollywood fame were over back when Bebe was a baby, who puts his job—and maybe more—on the line by retrieving Pioline's precious from Vegas, where she's gone AWOL with Chicago mobster John Remlinger. Backed up by his Hollywood Security Agency boss Paddy Maguire, Elliott (Come Back Dead, 1996, etc.) fast-talks his way past Remlinger's right-hand thug and snatches Bebe out from under his nose. But his victory is short-lived. Within a week, Bebe is killed in a plane crash en route to Pioline's desert hideaway. Local law enforcement, in the person of ancient, leathery Sheriff Tyler, would like to rule the crash an accident. But Elliott knows that the gust lock that brought the plane down wasn't left on accidentally; pilot Clay Ford removed it himself before turning the controls over to Pioline. Now Elliott has to solve the case himself before Remlinger finds out the woman he loved was murdered, and exacts his own terrible revenge. Read full book review >
ORION RISING by Terence Faherty
Released: July 30, 1999

Orion Rising ($22.95; Jul. 30; 256 pp.; 0-312-20351-9): Owen Keane, who left the seminary for the mean streets (The Ordained, 1997, etc.), is pulled into the murder of his classmate James Murray, and even deeper into the past he shares with Murray: the dead man's rape and beating of Boston nurse Francine Knaff 26 years ago, now finally confirmed by posthumous DNA evidence that convinces everybody but Owen. Read full book review >
THE ORDAINED by Terence Faherty
Released: Dec. 10, 1997

Rapture, Indiana, got its name from the millennialist prophets who planned to use it as their point of departure for the world's end. But now, 150 years after the Ordained of God were disappointed, it seems as if the rapture may finally have arrived after all. Dr. Krystal Bowden, the grown-up daughter of Curtis Morell, the remorseless killer seminarian-turned-shamus Owen Keane helped to lock up in The Lost Keats (1993), wants Owen to come out to Rapture to investigate the disappearance of elderly herbalist Prestina Shipe, evidently carried off in the middle of her breakfast. Even in the brief time Owen spends among the farms and herbs and handmade coffins that are Rapture's current stock-in-trade, there's a second disappearance, and then, while Owen's back is turned, a third—Krystal herself. Did she take off to avoid prosecution along with the rest of the methamphetamine ring her highly suspicious lover, DEA agent Steve Fallon, is tracking? Were the disappearances a case of alien abduction, as ufologist Marietta Feasey gravely tells Owen? Or is Curtis Morell, safely locked away in a Michigan City prison, somehow behind it all? Short, stark, and sparsely peopled with angularly fascinating figures: Faherty's portrait of Rapture has all the fine black-and-white detail you'd expect from a mid-century daguerreotype. Read full book review >
COME BACK DEAD by Terence Faherty
Released: Feb. 5, 1997

It's 1955, and Orson Welles is riding again—at least a taller, thinner Welles in a wheelchair, a prematurely washed-up director named Carson Drury who, 15 years after his glorious Hollywood debut, First Citizen, is clutching at the chance to jump-start his stalled career by reshooting the ending of the botched second film, The Imperial Albertsons, snatched from his hands by RKO back in 1942. Now that RKO itself is on the block, Drury, who's managed to purchase the Albertsons negative from the studio's new owner, tire magnate Ty McNally, will get his second chance—if he's not stopped by the saboteur who's swiped his shooting script, slashed the tires of his publicist and cameraman, and set his editing room afire. Worried because he's mortgaged his beloved Encino ranch to a slick developer to pay for the reshoot, Drury hires equally washed-up actor Scott Elliott, of the Hollywood Security Agency, and adjourns to bucolic Traynorville, Indiana, to scout locations and cozy up to McNally's buddy Gilbert Traynor, a potential angel for the troubled production. Out in God's country, though, it's a toss-up who's more hostile: the local KKK, Traynor's dragonish mother, or whoever ups the ante by starting to kill Drury's intimates. Not as resonant—despite the hammy presence of Carson Drury- -as Elliott's postwar debut (Kill Me Again, p. 488). But the mystery pays off at the end with enough sockdolagizing surprises for a month at the bijou. Read full book review >
PROVE THE NAMELESS by Terence Faherty
Released: Oct. 14, 1996

Owen Keane—Atlantic City copy editor, avocational private eye, and searcher after truth—makes his fourth appearance since his Edgar-nominated debut in Deadstick (1991). After tinkering with a 20-years-later newspaper feature on a local mass murder, Owen is put in touch with the crime's sole survivor: a college student still haunted by the slaughter of her parents and siblings. He begins to interview those concerned with the unsolved crime: frustrated cops, retired and still on the job; a Mob-linked widow whose husband, now dead, was implicated in the case; an exploitative cult leader turned self-help entrepreneur; a guilt- ridden neighbor. And then there's the young reporter who recapped the case and who challenges Owen to an investigative contest that ends in a sexual encounter. Throughout the search—which eventually loses him his job—Owen ruminates on past experiences and the nature of existence with an ex-seminarian solemnity that's his trademark. Fortunately, he also displays a gentle wit and compassion for those touched by a violence that proves to be not at all random. Faherty offers a dense plot, an excellent South Jersey sense of place, and a likable and unusual hero. But he should take more trouble with the motivations of his secondary characters— murderers, just for starters. Read full book review >
KILL ME AGAIN by Terence Faherty
Released: May 1, 1996

Faherty, already a veteran of four Owen Keane mysteries (Die Dreaming, 1994, etc.), takes a time machine back to 1947 Hollywood for a new series featuring Scott Elliott, whose dead- end career as a contract player was mercifully cut short by the war. Now Elliott's working a security job for Warner Brothers, investigating an anonymous allegation that the screenwriter of Love Me Again, the company's peacetime sequel to the wildly popular Passage to Lisbon (think Casablanca afloat), is a Communist. Bert Kramer indignantly denies the suggestion, and nobody can tie him to the Party, but by the time the last negative report is in, Kramer's long since been murdered, his dead hand clutching a screenplay of Love Me Again that's obviously intended as a dying message. In between jaunts around town in his 1940 LaSalle, trips to New York to check rumors of a HUAC industry purge, and agreeably florid faceoffs with Warner publicist Pidgin Englehart —``I tried to stare a blush out of her, but that was a bigger job than one man could handle''— Elliott gives an exhaustive synopsis of the new film's plot, but only the sharpest readers will see its significance, or pick out the guilty party. More deeply imagined than George Baxt's or Stuart Kaminsky's knockabout nostalgia binges—Elliott's really drunk deep of this postwar disillusionment stuff—but the mystery packs as many curves as Betty Grable. Read full book review >
DIE DREAMING by Terence Faherty
Released: July 19, 1994

When he puckishly takes out an ad for his nonexistent detective agency (``unanswerable questions discreetly answered'') in the 10th anniversary yearbook for Our Lady of Sorrows High School, Owen Keane is called on his bluff in record time. As soon as he turns up at the reunion, actress Maureen McCary wants him to give her advice about how to handle a blackmailer. Learning from an old flame that Maureen's case is nothing but another bluff cooked up to entertain the Sorrowers, a clique of the Class of 1968's best and brightest, Owen (The Lost Keats, 1993, etc.) sets out to show Maureen up by unearthing the truth about aging flower child David Radici's cryptic reference to ``Princeton''—which had the attending Sorrowers on the ropes. Shrugging off two tidy, inconsistent explanations offered by football captain Bill Pearson and valedictorian Lucy Criscollo, Owen traces the Princeton secret to Ricky Gerow, an aspiring Sorrower whose life has been ruined by drug experiences he insists he never had. Before he's left town for home, Owen will be satisfied that he's solved the mystery—but it won't be until the class's 20th reunion, after Ricky is dead, that the real and terrible depths of the mystery will finally become clear. As usual, Owen's original voice and his intriguing take on detective work—the sleuth as clown as spiritual therapist—make his latest appearance memorably offbeat and well worth seeking out. Read full book review >
THE LOST KEATS by Terence Faherty
Released: Aug. 19, 1993

In August 1973, Owen Keane (in this prequel to Deadstick, 1991) is AR—At-Risk of dropping out—of a southern Indiana seminary when his spiritual advisor, Father Jerome, suggests that he look into the disappearance of his classmate Michael Crosley, who simply up and left the premises two weeks back. Tracking Michael leads to nursing-home-bound Sarah Morell and her tale (hallucination?) of a family-owned, never-before-published Keats sonnet. Did Michael steal the poem and abscond? With an assist from ex-girlfriend Mary, Owen runs down the clues and red herrings, stubbornly focused on the Keats poem, while Sarah is suffocated, a young child is abused, and Michael's uncle suggests another reason for his nephew vanishing: despair over misreading his father. Marijuana and further violence come into play before Michael's whereabouts are known—and before Owen comes to terms with why Father Jerome set him on the quest in the first place. Less metaphysical intrigue than in last year's Live to Regret, but still this reflects Owen's attempts to reconcile his feelings with his actions—and it's told with the self-deprecating humor of Deadstick. Read full book review >
LIVE TO REGRET by Terence Faherty
Released: Sept. 21, 1992

An introspective second appearance for former seminarian- turned-investigator Owen Keane (Deadstick), who's now hired by his old college friend's father to watch over the grieving Harry—in the midst of a ``spiritual crisis''—and, if possible, to return him to the family legal fold. After his wife Mary died in a car accident six months ago, Harry retired to Spring Lake, New Jersey, to jog and paint and, more psychologically damaging, to pretend Mary was still alive. Owen, too, is grieving for Mary, his college sweetheart, and must come to terms with his loss. Also struggling with the concept of death (and grief, guilt, and deceit) is the mysterious Diana, who tempts the priest over at St. Brigid's, seduces Owen, and appears in most of Harry's more tormented paintings. But as the three men own up to their own shortcomings, emotional blinders and doubts, they are less gulled by Diana, who seems determined to reenact the tragedy of the Victorian-era suicide that still haunts the lakeside community and casts a pall over St. Brigid's. Moving study of men wrestling with the lies they tell themselves about women, and with the lies women tell them. Minimal detective work here, but a heady read nonetheless. Read full book review >
DEADSTICK by Terence Faherty
Released: Oct. 21, 1991

A sure-handed debut introduces failed seminarian/current law- firm researcher Owen Keane, a questing young man often at emotional/philosophical odds with his attorney boss Harry, a college chum, and with his quasi-girlfriend Marilyn, a relentlessly pragmatic librarian. Here, Harry assigns Owen the task of handling client Robert Carteret's request: discover what caused the 1941 plane crash that killed his brother William and his debutante- fiancÇe Lynn. The reclusive Carteret, who makes Howard Hughes seem gregarious, is hidden away on his Long Island estate, while his family fortune is being managed by tough-minded businesswoman Carolyn Vernia. Owen's research leads him to a war-trauma analyst who treated Robert Carteret and, it turns out, forged the request to reopen the '41 episode. Was it an accident or—worse—a double murder? Is that Robert hidden away in the mansion—or William? A trip to the plane-crash site in a New Jersey pine forest ultimately explains all, though the facts can't be verified. Owen, a detective-fiction aficionado, a lifelong windmill tilter, enlivens a rather simple story, particularly in his relationships—with people/his career/life in general. Read full book review >