On March 10, 2020, award-winning crime reporter James Queally’s highly-anticipated debut thriller, Line of Sight, will finally hit bookstores.
Throughout his career with the Los Angeles Times, Queally has become a trusted voice in crime coverage. Now, he’s set to roll out his first work of fiction and spoke exclusively to The Real Book Spy about his forthcoming novel, which is being published by Polis Books.
“I started writing Line of Sight about a year after I traveled to Ferguson during the fallout of the decision not to prosecute the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown,” said Queally. I was five or six years into my journalism career, and I’d say my view of the world was less than nuanced. Good guys dressed one way. Bad guys another.”
“The things I saw in Missouri that week complicated that, specifically the part where a 12-year-old girl got tackled by an officer in riot gear because she failed to disperse, the other part where I got tear-gassed and then threatened with chemical spray at point-blank range. I wound up on the other side of the people with guns and badges for the first time in my life, and that’s where Russell Avery finds himself in this book.”
Avery is Queally’s protagonist in the book. A PI now, Russell, like the author, used to be a crime reporter before he started cracking daces a private detective. “His entire life has benefited from a cozy relationship with law enforcement,” explains Queally, speaking about his character. “That changes in a big way when he starts asking questions about a cell phone video of a police-involved shooting.
“Russell thought he knew Newark up, down and backwards, but he was only ever looking at the city through one lens. We often talk about criminal justice like it’s an either/or proposition. We only look at things from one perspective, and that’s a fool’s errand. Criminal justice is incredibly complicated, and it takes a chorus of different voices from different walks to make sense of it. That’s something I had to learn to become a better journalist, and that’s something Russell has to learn if he wants to keep himself, and his city, in one piece.”
Check out the cover art and plot details below.
The debut novel from award-winning crime reporter James Queally
All favors come with a cost, and after using what little favors he has in the Newark PD to get his private investigators license, former crime reporter Russell Avery finds himself paying.
He spends his days reluctantly keeping sideways cops out of the crosshairs of the Internal Affairs department. Until Keyonna Jackson, a social justice activist, presents him with a troubling video: a made-for-Youtube cell phone snippet chronicling the same kind of questionable use-of-force that had set New York City, Ferguson, and Cleveland on fire in recent years. The same use-of-force that he’s been covering up for Newark PD.
Now, the young black man who filmed this video is dead and the more questions Russell asks, the less his cop buddies like him. For the first time in his life, Russell finds himself on the wrong side of the guys with the badges and guns. When details of the shooting become public―and a city with race riots in its DNA flirts with the idea of letting history repeat itself―Russell finds himself allying with street activists and gang members as he races to put together the biggest story of his life . . . before the city he needs to tell it to burns down around him.
James Queally is an award-winning crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Throughout his career, Queally has covered hundreds of homicides, as well as national use-of-force controversies and the Black Lives Matter Movement. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, Shotgun Honey and more. LINE OF SIGHT is his debut novel.
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.