Table of Contents
THE BOY WHO SHOOTS CROWS
“Randall Silvis . . . presents a mystery so beautifully written and with characters so alive that the mystery itself becomes immaterial. Read it just for the prose.”
âThomas Lipinski, author of Shamus Awardâwinner
Death in the Steel City
The Boy Who Shoots Crows
is a real stunner. I lost an entire afternoon rushing through the final half, because I had to knowâhad to knowâhow it ended. From the opening lines, every sentence is infused with an uncanny sense of dread. With each page turn, Randall Silvis peels away yet another layer of his characters' hidden hearts, and as he does, that sense of dread grows overwhelming. Because you become certain that you know what's going to happen next. And pray that you're wrong.”
âGrant Jerkins, author of
A Very Simple Crime
The Boy Who Shoots Crows
, Randall Silvis populates a small Pennsylvania town with richly drawn characters, chief among them Marcus Gatesman, a sheriff searching for a missing twelve-year-old boy, and Charlotte Dunleavy, a painter haunted by the boy's disappearance and by her own dark history. Silvis writes with an artist's eye for detail, and his story is expertly plotted, traveling along unexpected paths on the way to its devastating conclusion.”
âHarry Dolan, author of
Bad Things Happen
Very Bad Men
PRAISE FOR RANDALL SILVIS AND HIS NOVELS
“Randall Silvis has a well-deserved reputation as a writer of stylish crime fiction . . . [In
], Silvis's sly symbolism, intellectual play, and literary allusions make this novel an appropriate portrait of the twin-souled, enigmatic man whose detective stories have shown us both the dark motives of the soul and the power of reason to penetrate its mysteries.”
“Silvis gives readers a page-turning story.”
New York Post
“[A] wordsmith extraordinaire.”
“Randall Silvis is such a good writer, both for his prose and for what he doesn't doâturn relationships into predictable scenarios.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“The story line is rivetingâcomplex, convoluted, and compelling; Silvis engages the reader from first word to last. I couldn't put this novel down.”
Los Angeles Reader
“There's genius in this book. The writing is like a melding of J. P. Donleavy and Lawrence Durrell. Silvis is reaching way out there . . . more innovative than ever, and expressing a depth of thought way beyond the reach of most modern writers. He may be the last of a dying species, the creative genius.”
âWilliam Allen, author of
The Fire in the Birdbath and Other Disturbances
“This beautiful, melancholy novella from Silvis unfolds as a timeless Central American seaside fable . . . A masterful storyteller, Silvis doesn't waste a word in this tale about âthe tart nectar of memory's flower.' ”
“My first encounter with Randall Silvis . . . left me literally spellbound . . . Silvis has a voice of his own, and what a wonderful voice! . . . I can't recommend this book enough, an exceptional reading experience for anyone who loves solid and seductive storytelling, elegant but profound writing style, and most of all the ability to disclose the lyricism hidden behind the apparent triviality of human existence.”
The New Review
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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright Â© 2011 by Randall Silvis.
All rights reserved.
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Berkley Prime Crime trade paperback edition / December 2011
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Silvis, Randall, 1950â
ISBN : 978-1-101-55279-7
1. Missing personsâFiction. 2. PennsylvaniaâFiction. I. Title.
For my sons,
Bret and Nathan
With gratitude to Emily Rapoport and Peter Rubie for their insights and patience. A special thank-you to Jonathan Westover, whose early enthusiasm for this story sustained my own faith in it and in my ability to tell it.
HE knock on her front door was startling despite its relative softnessâthree muffled thumps coming from at least thirty-six feet away, into the small foyer, around the corner and through the dining room, and finally all the way through the kitchen to the northern bay window where she sat at the pine table, occasionally jotting a word or two onto a notepad but mostly just gazing out at the pond off the far edge of her property. Just a moment before the knock, as she studied the way the mist hung over the water and diffused the shadows cast by the first slant of morning sun, she had whispered aloud, “Sfumato,” imagining the scene as her own painting, rendered with da Vinci's famous technique applied to soften the tangerine glow and blur all edges. Other than that word, she could recall no human voice in her house for a full day or more, and even then it would have been her own. But now, at not quite seven in the morning, there was somebody standing on her front porch, waiting at the door. The sound that person had made, the knock, seemed heavy and dark and swaddled in mist, the kind of sound a lead weight would make if dropped three times onto a pillow. She wondered if she should sit very still and make no sound, or rise and go to the door. How could a visitor at this hour be a welcome interruption?