Mark Mallen Novel , #1
Mark Mallen Novel , #1
A gritty mystery of loss and redemption on the San Francisco streets
Estranged from his wife and daughter, former undercover cop Mark Mallen has spent the last four years in a haze of heroin. When his best friend from the academy, Eric Russ, is murdered, an address found in his pocket points to Mallen as the prime suspect.
As the police turn up the heat and Russ’s survivors ask him to come up with some answers, Mallen sets out to serve justice to the real killer. But first, he’ll have to get clean and face the low-life thugs who want him dead. Surviving drive-by shootings and beat downs, Mallen discovers the motives behind a string of vengeful murders. But turning a life around is hard work for a junkie. Bruised, alone, and written off by nearly everyone, can Mallen keep clean and get back into his daughter’s life?
In Untold Damage by Robert K. Lewis ex-cop Mark Mallen is a junkie. He used to be an undercover officer in San Francisco, but now he's been in a downward spiral for four years. He has alienated former friends and is estranged from his wife and daughter. As if his life wasn't already at the lowest point possible, suddenly he finds himself a suspect in the execution-style murder of his former best friend from the police academy, Eric Russ. Unknown to Mallen, Eric's life had taken a sad turn. When he was found, he had a bullet through his head, needle tracks in his arms, and vials of heroin along with Mallen's phone number in his pocket.
Mallen visit's Russ' parents to pay his condolences. When he tries to do the same for Eric's wife, he arrives to find her apartment trashed while she is laying on the floor, brutally beaten. Before he can really take in what he's seeing, handcuffs are slapped on him. Mallen ends up asking to be thrown into jail so he can clean up. When he gets out, it becomes clear that some kind of vengeance/homemade justice is being dealt out.
As the body count rises, Mallen tries to run his own investigation while he avoids getting beaten to death or killed himself. This is a gritty mystery as Mallen travels through some tough districts and encounters some even tougher characters, he soon is on the trail to unraveling what is happening, why, and who is responsible.
The action keeps moving along at a brisk pace and justice is never quite what it seems in this debut novel by Robert K. Lewis. Lewis is establishing a series to follow with his very flawed protagonist/almost antihero Mark Mallen. While we are used to hard drinking ex-cops who solve crimes/mysteries, a recovering junkie is a new twist on the prototype.
There is already a second book in the series, Critical Damage, due to be released in the future.
Bay Area resident Robert K. Lewis has been a painter, printmaker, and a produced screenwriter. He is a contributor to Macmillan’s crime fiction fansite, Criminal Element. Lewis is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers Association. Untold Damage is his first novel. Visit him online at RobertKLewis.com and at needlecity.wordpress.com.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes.