Monday 5 August 2019


A couple from US author Joe Clifford, someone I have actually already read.

Joe Clifford has written five books in his Jay Porter series.

The fifth Rag and Bone I read recently, having previously enjoyed one of his short story collections - Choice Cuts some years ago.

His Porter series is quite well regarded and comprises

1. Lamentation (2014)
2. December Boys (2016)
3. Give Up the Dead (2017)
4. Broken Ground (2018)
5. Rag and Bone (2019)

There are several other standalones to his name including an autobiographical novel Junkie Love.

Clifford is a former homeless, heroin addict, who has battled through some difficult times. He deserves every success

Broken Ground (2018)

At an AA meeting, handyman and part-time investigator Jay Porter meets a recovering addict who needs his help. In the midst of another grueling northern New Hampshire winter, Amy Lupus' younger sister, Emily, has gone missing from the Coos County Center, the newly opened rehab run by Jay's old nemeses, Adam and Michael Lombardi.

As Jay begins looking into Emily's disappearance, he finds that all who knew Emily swear that she's never used drugs. She's a straight shooter and an intern at a newspaper investigating the Center and the horrendous secret hidden in it - or beneath it.

When Jay learns of a "missing" hard drive, he is flung back to five years ago when his own junkie brother, Chris, found a hard drive belonging to Lombardi Construction. For years, Jay assumed that the much-sought-after hard drive contained incriminating photos of Adam and Michael's father, which contributed to Chris' death. But now he believes that hard drive may have harbored a secret far more sinister, which the missing Lupus sister may have unwittingly discovered. The deeper Jay digs, the more poisoned the ground gets, and the two cases become one, yielding a toxic truth with local fallout - and far-reaching ramifications.

The One That Got Away (2018)

In the early 2000s, a string of abductions rocked the small upstate town of Reine, New York. Only one girl survived: Alex Salerno. The killer, Ken Parsons, was sent away. Life returned to normal. No more girls would have to die. Until another one did.

It's been seven years since Kira Shanks was reported missing and presumed dead. Alex Salerno has been living in New York City, piecemealing paychecks to earn a livable wage, trying to forget those three days locked underground and her affair with Sean Riley, the married detective who rescued her. When Noah Lee, hometown reporter with a journalistic pedigree, requests an interview, Alex returns to Reine and Riley, reopening old wounds. What begins as a Q&A for a newspaper article soon turns into an opportunity for money, closure and - justice. The disappearance of Kira Shanks has long been hung on Benny Brudzienski, a hulking man-child who is currently a brain-addled guest at the Galloway State Mental Hospital. But after Alex reconnects with ex-classmates and frenemies, doubts are cast on that guilt. Alex is drawn into a dangerous game of show and tell in an insular town where everyone has a secret to hide. And as more details emerge about the night Kira Shanks went missing, Alex discovers there are some willing to kill to protect the horrific truth.

In the modern vein of Dark Places and Mystic River, The One That Got Away is a dark, psychological thriller featuring a compelling, conflicted heroine and a page-turning narrative that races toward its final, shocking conclusion.


"A great book! I devoured it. Taut, pacey and with a powerful sense of place, Joe Clifford's The One That Got Away is an intelligent and astutely observed piece of American small-town noir." - Paula Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water


  1. Both of these sound really interesting, Col. And I remember your other review. I'm glad Clifford has gotten his life together; as you say, let's hope he has real success. And it sounds as though he's written some sold books worth a read.

    1. Thanks Margot. Hopefully I'll get to these or at least one of them soon.

  2. Joe Clifford, and the words which flow with him, is as solid as a rock rocks on. "Do thoroughly enjoy," encouraged this fellow American of noir. Absolutely. ~ Kate

    1. Kate, thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to reading more from Clifford.

  3. Hm. I think The One That Got Away definitely has to go on the list. Many thanks for this.

  4. These both sound good, although if I was going to try a Jay Porter book I would start with the first one.

    1. Good idea, I read the 5th first and whilst I enjoyed it, it lost something by not having the earlier books under my belt.