Kyle Gill, fifteen, lives with his older cousin, Deke, in the backwater Northern California town of Dormundt. Kyle has been cutting class for the past three weeks. When Kyle returns home one afternoon, he discovers Deke and his business partner, Jimmy, are holding one hundred pounds of marijuana, which they discovered abandoned at their dealer’s house. Knowing people will soon come looking for the dope, Deke and Jimmy set up a quick deal at the Skunk Train Inn, a skeezy roadside motel, but the buyers turn out to be dirty cops. In the ensuing melee, Deke is killed, Jimmy escapes, and the dirty cops flee. Kyle takes off in Jimmy’s truck with the money that was transferred before the shootout.
On a mission to find his father, Kyle heads to San Francisco, where he meets Lizzie Decker, a wealthy high school senior, whose father has just been arrested for embezzlement. Together, Kyle and Lizzie join forces, but are soon pursued by Jimmy, the two dirty cops, and the Mexican cartel, as a third detective closes in, attempting to tie loose threads and solve the Skunk Train murders.
Drawing on novels featuring teenage protagonists such as Rule of the Bone and Catcher in the Rye, Skunk Train is a modern-day love story set against the backdrop of the NorCal marijuana trade. Like No Country for Old Men, the book is steeped in the colloquial. It is a fast-paced thriller, which tests the bonds of family and shows the lengths desperate people will go to keep a secret and protect the ones they love.
Praise for SKUNK TRAIN:
“In Skunk Train, Clifford channels the best of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone, and Richard Lange’s This Wicked World. Here a teenager on a mission endures and enacts all manner of crime. The road to becoming a man is not just rocky for Kyle, it is filled with figurative craters, sinkholes, and mountains. Buckle up and hold on tight. It’s a fast and rough road trip you won’t want to miss.” —Jeffery Hess, author of No Salvation
“Three are dead at the Skunk Train Inn and 15-year-old Kyle Gill is on the run with a bag of cash—hunted by a small-time dealer, crooked cops, and a Mexican cartel. A heart-pounding thriller which could be dubbed ‘no country for young men’.” —J.L. Abramo, Shamus Award-winning author of Gravesend
“Joe Clifford’s Skunk Train is fifteen year-old ‘loser’ Kyle Gill’s tough, adrenaline-fueled coming of age story that collides with northern California’s marijuana culture, San Francisco’s highest and lowest elements and the fringes of Hollywood. Gritty, raw and rough-edged, but with perceptive observations about life and a tender heart at its center. It’s so good every time I had to stop reading I couldn’t wait to get back to it to find out what was happening to Kyle and his girlfriend Lizzie. Tense, terse and fast paced—a must read.” —Paul D. Marks, Shamus Award-winning author of White Heat
Jay Porter, the newest employee at NorthEastern Insurance in New Hampshire, is investigating an accident claim when he learns the teenager behind the wheel was arrested for minor drug possession and sentenced to a hardcore behavioral modification center. At the county courthouse, Jay meets Nicki, a young college intern, who tips him off to a possible scandal--first-time juvenile offenders being shipped to private institutions for political kickbacks. He learns that long-time family nemeses, Adam and Michael Lombardi, may have a stake in the scheme. Is Jay's mission to help these kids a legitimate crusade? Or is his thirst for revenge driven by the guilt he feels over his own junkie brother's death? These questions conspire to tear apart tranquility and drive a wedge between Jay and his wife Jenny. With help from new friend Nicki, and a couple of old friends, Jay finds himself thrust back into a past he had hoped to leave behind, putting everything--and everyone he loves—at risk in pursuit of the truth.
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 the hard drive 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.
"An unforgettable—and Hollywood-bound—new thriller... A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."
The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....
In a frigid New Hampshire winter, Jay Porter is trying to eke out a living and maintain some semblance of a relationship with his former girlfriend and their two-year-old son. When he receives an urgent call that Chris, his drug-addicted brother, is being questioned by the sheriff about his missing junkie business partner, Jay feels obliged to come to his rescue. After Jay negotiates his brother's release from the county jail, Chris disappears into the night. As Jay begins to search for him, he is plunged into a cauldron of ugly lies and long-kept secrets that could tear apart his small hometown and threaten the lives of Jay and all those he holds dear. Powerful forces come into play that will stop at nothing until Chris is dead and the information he harbors is destroyed.