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Sunrise Highway

Review

Sunrise Highway

It is one of those grim, ironic turns that the incident that begins SUNRISE HIGHWAY --- a woman in distress, frantically pounding on a locked door and seeking help --- was dramatically mirrored in the real world just a few days before the novel (written several months prior) was offered for sale. While author Peter Blauner is no stranger to exploring contemporary topics in a timely manner through his episodic screenwriting of such television series as “Law & Order: SVU” and “Blue Bloods,” here it seems almost prescient. But even without the apparent intersection of the imagination and reality, this opening sinks the hook into the reader for the next 300 pages or so until story’s end.

SUNRISE HIGHWAY is the nominal successor to PROVING GROUND, which introduced Lourdes Robles, an extremely talented and driven NYPD detective. Lourdes is haunted by the disappearance of her younger sister Izzy, who is troubled by demons that she tries to simultaneously tame and feed with streets drugs. When the remains of a female are found wrapped in plastic on Long Island, Lourdes wonders if she might be Izzy. The dead woman, whose mouth has been jammed with rocks and was apparently pregnant when she was killed, turns out to be another poor soul.

"Blauner combines his considerable and ever-present cinematic and narrative chops to fine effect in SUNRISE HIGHWAY. As with his television work, there is really no good place to stop, so be prepared for a marathon reading session."

Still, the corpse puts Lourdes on an investigative path that stretches back to the late 1970s, when a high school girl was found murdered under somewhat similar circumstances. A boy named Joey Tolliver, the teenage son of a Long Island cop, testified that the murderer was a local football star, who protested his innocence to no avail. Tolliver ended up pursuing a career in law enforcement and is now chief of police, running his fiefdom with a combination of charm and fear.

A trail of dead women stretch from the past to the present, and all of them were found by or near the Sunrise Highway. Tolliver lays the blame on New York criminals who use Long Island as a dumping ground, but Lourdes finds that theory wanting. She continues to push her investigation, a course of action that puts her in the path of entrenched law enforcement in an area where the seemingly quiet surface of the local city streets hides at least one murderer who is ready to kill and kill again. Meanwhile, Izzy remains missing, but Lourdes may end up endangering both of them, even as she approaches a line she shouldn’t cross, but may have to.

Blauner combines his considerable and ever-present cinematic and narrative chops to fine effect in SUNRISE HIGHWAY. As with his television work, there is really no good place to stop, so be prepared for a marathon reading session. The last third of the book uncorks a couple of surprises, at least one of which may play out in a future installment of the series.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on September 14, 2018

Sunrise Highway
by Peter Blauner

  • Publication Date: September 4, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250117410
  • ISBN-13: 9781250117410