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This is book number 1 in the Lourdes Robles Novels series.
Proving Ground is a razor sharp, fast-paced New York City procedural and a fantastic return to form for Blauner, who hasn't had a book out in 10 years. When a high profile defense attorney is shot in an apparent car robbery, both the victims family and Detective Lourdes Robles suspect foul play. Complicating matters is the victims son, an Iraqi war vet with demons of his own. Blauner has a great ear for dialogue and character: Blauner's New York is vividly drawn with darkness and humor. The plot twists and turns, moving us effortlessly to the conclusion. Perfect for fans of Connelly, Coleman, and Lehane.— Sam
"A must read. I couldn’t put the sucker down."—Stephen King
Proving Ground, New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner Peter Blauner’s first novel in more than a decade, is a sweeping crime novel, an intricate story about the quest for redemption, and a vibrant portrait of contemporary New York City, all told in Blauner’s singular voice.
Nathaniel Dresden never really got along with his father, an infamous civil rights lawyer who defended criminals and spearheaded protest movements. As an act of rebellion, Natty joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq, coming back with a chest full of commendations and a head full of disturbing memories.
But when his father is found murdered near the peaceful confines of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Natty is forced to deal with the troubled legacy of their unresolved relationship. He also has to fend off the growing suspicions of NYPD Detective Lourdes Robles, a brash Latina cop with something to prove, who thinks Natty might bear some responsibility for his father’s death. Though truth be told, the list of people—cops and criminals—who wanted David Dresden out of the way is long. The search for answers leads Natty and Lourdes into an urban labyrinth where they must confront each other—and the brutal truths that could destroy them both.
"With Proving Ground, Peter Blauner continues to prove why he’s one of the most consistently bracing and interesting voices in American crime literature. A beautifully written and relentlessly exciting thriller."—Dennis Lehane
"Over the last 25 years Peter Blauner has proven to be a master of the urban darkside, his crime novels suffused with a knowing compassion for the bottom dogs who live in the Minotaur's maze that is New York City. Proving Ground is one of his finest efforts."—Richard Price
"Blauner is a terrific novelist and PROVING GROUND is proof of it. Is it selfish to ask him to turn off the TV and write nothing but novels in future? We don't want to wait another ten years for a book as elegantly written and engrossing as this one.”
- Reviewing the Evidence
"Peter Blauner’s new novel, Proving Ground, is an old-school page-turner, as war-damaged army vet Nathaniel 'Natty Dread' Dresden and police detective Lourdes Robles close in on the killer of Natty’s father…and, maybe, each other. Taut narration, spot-on dialogue, and sharply etched action sequences make this one a must read.
I couldn’t put the sucker down."—Stephen King
“The murder of a liberal lawyer in Brooklyn puts his Iraq War veteran son and two detectives on a collision course in this complex, character-rich tale… A top-notch crime novel that avoids easy resolutions and is all the better for its unanswered questions.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A new Peter Blauner novel is cause for celebration, and Proving Ground justifies the wait. This is a thoughtful, nuanced novel of crime and war and the human heart. Blauner's authentic and powerful writing is worthy of comparison to Richard Price and Dennis Lehane, and his story is coiled with emotional impact. Not to be missed.”—Michael Koryta
"Proving Ground is a startlingly powerful tale of lost lives and lost souls with a crackling crime drama at its core. No one understands the NYPD, the backroom politics of New York, nor the heart of the city like Blauner. No one."—Reed Farrel Coleman
"Peter Blauner's first book in ten years, Proving Ground, is a showstopper. A tour-de-force of smart, gutsy, relentlessly entertaining storytelling that counts as one of the finest novels I've read in the past five years. Blauner has a painter's eye for detail, a playwright's ear for dialogue, and a film director's kinetic narrative vision. All combine to create a turbo-charged reading experience. Proving Ground is a masterpiece of contemporary fiction."—Christopher Reich
“Edgar-winner Blauner hasn’t lost his touch, as this page-turner demonstrates…Blauner has crafted two strong and complex leads in Natty and Lourdes and given readers an intricate plot that never feels forced”
-- Publishers Weekly, starred review