School is back in session in Penns River, which means it’s football season in Western Pennsylvania. The Penns River team is loaded after a few substandard campaigns and the town is so revved up a new gambling ring opens to allow PR supporters to put their money where their hearts are.
The “entrepreneur” responsible has no idea how to set point spreads and nowhere to look for help; it’s not like Vegas handles small town high school football games. The vast majority of money put down is on the locals—who bets against their own kid, or the one next door?—and the team covers all the spreads; the cash paid to winners far exceeds what the operation takes in. Only organized crime offers loans to cover the shortfall, which opens the door to a whole new world of problems, including murder.
If only this was the only problem facing detective Ben “Doc” Dougherty and his fellow police officers but
• A motorcycle gang is solidifying its position in town.
• A civilian ride-along sparks controversy and an official complaint that re-opens an old wound for the department.
• A baby shower turns violent.
• A routine investigation leads to signs of possible police corruption.
• Doc’s cousin, Chicago-based private investigator Nick Forte—a man not prone to leaving things as he found them—comes to town to visit his parents.
Welcome to Penns River, where incomes rarely increase and crime rarely decreases. This would be bad enough if it were the same old crimes, but the changing criminal landscape constantly demands more from a police department in transition.
Critical Acclaim for The Spread:
“Dana King writes in a gritty crime noir style with a modern flair all his own. His books grab you from the first page and don’t let you go.” —Terrence McCauley, award-winning author of thrillers, crime and westerns
“Readers who like police procedurals will love Dana King’s The Spread—the latest in his Penns River Crime series—and they will have to know, page after page, what happens next! ” —G. Miki Hayden, Writers Digest mystery and thriller writing instructor and author of the how-to Writing the Mystery
“If Joseph Wambaugh and Ed McBain adopted a child and raised him in the 87th Precinct, that kid would grow up to be Dana King. The Spread is a joy for people who love to watch police work and hear cops talk.” —Tim O’Mara, author of the Raymond Donne series and creator of “Murder in Halifax”
“Dana King is an attentive student of the crime novel who knows the formula: how to end a chapter with a cliff hanger, how to write snappy, wise-cracking dialogue, when to introduce intriguing and quirky characters, and to surprise the reader with a plot twist. If you enjoy crime fiction, but want something a bit more challenging and, in my opinion, much more inventive and artful, this is the novel for you. The Spread will broaden your notion of what a crime novel can do.” —Ron Cooper, author of All My Sins Remembered
“Bad things are happening in Penns River, PA. A dedicated patrolman is charged with sexual assault and the mob has a bookie taking bets on local high school football games. Within days, the high school football coach has been beaten nearly to death and the bookie has been murdered. Dedicated Detective Sergeant Doc Dougherty of the Penns River Police Force is tasked with straightening out this monumental mess. Will he choose to do the right thing? Dana King’s new police procedural, The Spread, answers this pressing question.” —Patrick H. Moore, author of 27 Days
“Plot is king in The Spread. Sharp, crisp characters, and dialogue that snaps to a snare-drum cadence move the reader through this hard-rushing police procedural.” —Joe Ricker, author of All the Good in Evil