...Blauner throws us into the deep end of things right off the bat. The book opens with a sequence taking place five years ago, in 2012, on Long Island during Hurricane Sandy. It’s apocalyptic. Cars are floating away, debris is flying, and a young pregnant woman is desperate for help, so she knocks on a door ... Cut to 2017, and NYPD Homicide Detective Lourdes Robles and her partner, Robert 'Beautiful Bobby' Borrelli, are called to the tip of Far Rockaway, where a plastic-wrapped body has been pulled from the water. Lourdes gets a look, and after determining that it’s probably a female, she notices that there are rocks stuffed in what’s left of the esophagus. It’s a horrifying and unusual discovery, and although Lourdes’s colleagues are quick to jump to theories about MS-13 and gang killings, Lourdes isn’t so sure ... This book is chock full of creepy, downright terrifying scenes—although Blauner expertly avoids exploitation and gore ... It’s timely and will certainly resonate with readers who keep a close watch on current events. You won’t be able to put this one down.
Sunrise Highway is often an ugly tale, but Blauner set out to tell a brutally honest story, and he has done so with exceptional skill. The novel pits an intrepid NYPD detective, Lourdes Robles, against a Long Island police chief, Joey Tolliver, who is also a psychopath, rapist and serial killer. It is even in part a political novel in that Tolliver is protected by a friend he helped win election as the local district attorney and another pal who winds up in Congress. In this story, criminality loves company ... The story moves back and forth in time as Tolliver kills women over a 40-year period. Along the way, readers may learn a lot about Long Island. Robles reflects that it is not like her native Brooklyn, where the 'sidewalks were filthy and criminals were as free and rampant as the rats in the garbage strewn gutters. This was the Island. Where decent people went to escape.' But someone like Joey Tolliver can corrupt even the most upstanding communities. With him, Peter Blauner has created one of most the memorable psychopaths since Hannibal Lecter.
Blauner combines his considerable and ever-present cinematic and narrative chops to fine effect in Sunrise Highway ... be prepared for a marathon reading session. The last third of the book uncorks a couple of surprises.