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The Dead Detective


Thirty-year-old homicide detective Harry Doyle—dubbed “The Dead Detective” by his fellow cops after he was murdered and revived at the age of ten—faces his most difficult case: a beautiful murder victim who was a notorious child molester.

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What people are saying…

The Dead Detective is William Heffernan’s first novel in seven years, and wherever he’s been, he hasn’t forgotten how to write a good, gritty police procedural . . . This edgy police drama succeeds in capturing the hysteria the grips Tampa residents when a celebrity criminal . . . is found dead in a cypress swamp with her throat cut and the word ‘Evil’ carved on her forehead.”
The New York Times Book Review

The Dead Detective is a meaty story that offers an intriguing and conflicted protagonist, a darkly fascinating victim, solid police procedural detail, a knowing look at the Tampa Bay area and its politics, an unlikely murderer, and a creepy denouement that hints that Harry [protagonist] will be back.”

“In his first new novel in seven years, Edgar Award–winner Heffernan delivers a readable, tidy police procedural that echoes any number of popular television series, from The Mentalist to Criminal Minds, whose many fans will find this series debut enjoyable.”
Library Journal

“After a lengthy hiatus, Edgar-winner Heffernan (A Time Gone By) makes a welcome return . . . Tough, troubled Harry Doyle will keep readers in line.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Heffernan has a classic lean, tough-guy style and effectively combines tense drama with the nuts-and-bolts details of investigation. And he knows the territory, from Tarpon Springs to Tampa.”
St. Petersburg Times

“We have a feeling that Heffernan is setting us up for more dead detective novels, which we welcome like the zealots we are.”
Time Out Chicago

“William Heffernan is one of the finest craftsmen in mystery fiction. The publication of a new Heffernan novel is an event worth cheering, and The Dead Detective is no exception. A mystery treat. A literary treat.”
—John Lutz, author of Slaughter

“William Heffernan has written some crime fiction classics, and this much-anticipated return delivers a promising new protagonist, a plot with all the heat of its Florida Gulf Coast setting, and a finale that settles with beautiful, gentle menace. The Dead Detective is a veteran pro proving that he has much more to offer. Heffernan writes in a way that challenges the mind and the soul.”
—Michael Koryta, author of The Silent Hour

The Dead Detective breathes new life into the classic police drama. Jam-packed with strong characters and a powerful plot, this is as fine a book of its genre as I’ve read in decades.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award–winning author of The Devil Wins

“They say that the dead talk to Harry Doyle. They know he can hear them because he was dead once himself, murdered by his own mother and brought back to life by a sharp-eyed cop. Now Harry has become a detective himself and he’s landed a case with echoes of his own haunted past where the dark forces of celebrity, sex, and religious mania conflate in shocking murder. Heffernan sends cold chills through the Florida heat with his singular new creation.”
Cathi Unsworth, author of The Singer

More praise for Heffernan:

“Heffernan is a master of scene, setting, characterizations, plot, and dialogue.”
—Nelson DeMille

“William Heffernan is one of the rare mystery writers who cares about soul.”
—Martin Cruz Smith

“Heffernan’s novels are not so much about the murder but the effect the murder has on the people involved. That’s not just good mystery writing. That’s good writing, period.”
Denver Post

“The whispered revelations that come spilling out of Beulah Hill are like ghostly voices you sometimes hear in the attic—soft, sad and disturbingly urgent.”
New York Times Book Review, on Beulah Hill

“Flawlessly plotted, seamlessly written.”
Washington Post on Cityside

“Edgar-winning Heffernan [is] a craftsman of the hardboiled style, as well as a seamless handler of shifting viewpoints and emotions.”
Publishers Weekly


Harry Doyle was murdered as a ten-year-old child and brought back to life by two Tampa cops. Twenty years later he has dedicated his life to putting killers behind bars as a homicide detective who has the unwanted ability to hear the postmortem whispers of murder victims. Dubbed “The Dead Detective” by his fellow cops, Doyle now faces his most difficult case—a beautiful murder victim who was a notorious child molester. It is a case that will shake Harry to his very core.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Published: 9/21/10
  • IBSN: 9781936070619
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750007


WILLIAM HEFFERNAN is the Edgar Award–winning author of nineteen novels, including the international best sellers The Corsican and The Dinosaur Club, as well as The Dead Detective, When Johnny Came Marching Home, A Time Gone By, Cityside, and Beulah Hill. He divides his time between his forty-foot trawler in Florida and visits to his children around the country. Prior to turning to fiction thirty-six years ago, Heffernan was a New York City newspaper reporter who was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize. The Scientology Murders is his latest novel.

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