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Posts Tagged ‘No Regrets Coyote’

In the opening pages of John Dufresne’s newest novel, No Regrets, Coyote (Norton, $25.95), protagonist Wylie “Coyote” Melville, a therapist and volunteer forensic consultant, gets a call from his friend, Everglades County police detective Carlos O’Brien, to size up a murder-suicide case. Known for his highly developed empathy and intuition, Wylie’s often brought in to spot evidence the cops might otherwise miss.

“I could read minds,” he says, “even if those minds weren’t present.”

Or not alive.

At first glance, it looks as if restaurateur Chafin Halliday has killed his wife, his three children, and then turned the gun on himself. The police are ready to close the case. But what Wylie sees at the crime scene persuades him to investigate further, and he enlists the support of his friend Bay Lettique, poker-player and magician extraordinaire.

A man who can make a parakeet in your iPhone fly out and land on his shoulder, Bay explains why the average person misses the magic of sleight-of-hand: “I tell you I’m going to lie to you, and then I lie to you, and you believe it. Because you want to believe.”

And with that claim, Dufresne defines the action in this shapeshifting thriller. While Wylie and Bay take on the bad guys, what’s running in the margins is a meditation on much larger issues of identity, loss and duality. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Best known for Louisiana Power and Light (1994) and Requiem Mass (2009), Dufresne now joins the venerable ranks of South Florida crime writers — Carl Hiassen, James W. Hall, and the late, great Elmore Leonard come to mind — with a think-piece of a mystery that keeps asking, as any good psychoanalyst would, “And why is that?” (more…)

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