A Book Spy Review: ‘Sunrise Highway’ by Peter Blauner

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Sunrise HighwayTo catch a Long Island killer, a young NYPD detective must first find a way to bring down the system protecting them. 

Lourdes Robles, the young Latina NYPD detective who starred in Blauner’s Proving Ground (2017), returns for her biggest case yet when a woman is murdered in Long Island. For Robles, the case hits close to home, as her own sister has been missing for over six months. So, when she hears from the woman’s family that the local Long Island police force did next to nothing to find their daughter after she first disappeared, she takes the lack of action and disgusting oversight personally. 

Digging into the case herself, while also investigating a body found in Queens, Lourdes makes a shocking discovery when she finds a trail of murdered women along Long Island’s Route 27, known as Sunrise Highway, that dates back the late 1970s. More digging raises questions about the local chief of police, Joseph Tolliver, who was born into a family of police officers, and whose past intrigues Lourdes. More specifically, she keys into Tolliver’s teenage years, when he served as the star witness in the trial of a cop accused of being more than just a little crooked. Tolliver’s statement and testimony on the stand helped the officer walk free when everyone in town knew he was dirty, but now, decades later, Lourdes questions if the biggest injustice that day revolved around Tolliver.

With the top cop squarely in her sights, Lourdes Robles must first figure out how to penetrate the shield of protection in order to bring down a vicious serial killer and change the system that’s allowed him to torment women for forty years. 

Peter Blauner is a solid writer, but those expecting the next Michael Connelly (who is still the gold standard for police procedurals) will be disappointed. Blauner’s style is more linear, offering readers answers early on and allowing them to follow Lourdes as she connects the dots and works to unearth the truth. While giving up the goods to readers that early may reduce the level of suspense, Blauner makes up for it with acute attention to detail and terrific character development. Likewise, his ability to delve into what might make someone a killer in the first place is compelling and troubling all at the same time, as Blauner bounces between the present day and past events to paint a clear picture of who the murderer is. 

When those who are sworn to protect and serve suddenly end up on the wrong side of the law, it’s up to one ambitious detective to bring it all crashing down in Sunrise Highway, another well-written and timely novel from Peter Blauner. 

Book Details

Author: Peter Blauner 
Series: Lourdes Robles  #2
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250117410
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 9.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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