by Rick Skwiot
on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours Oct 13 - Nov 14, 2014
Published by: Blank Slate Press
Publication Date: October 27, 2014
Number of Pages: 220
Disgraced African American St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel wants fiercely to return to the headquarters hierarchy from which he has been exiled to the city’s tough North Side. All he needs do is track down the missing husband of the mayor’s vivacious press secretary. Instead he unwittingly and unwillingly unearths a morass of corruption, educational malpractice and greed that consigns thousands of at-risk youths to the mean streets of America’s erstwhile murder capital. Worse, it’s the kind of information that could get a cop killed.
Fighting for life and his honor, Gabriel makes chilling discoveries that ultimately lead to a life-threatening and life-changing decision—a choice that could affect not only his own future but also that of the city and its top leaders.
PRAISE FOR FAIL“Rick Skwiot proves himself a master weaver who deftly knits the threads of this suspense tale into a compelling—and surprising—conclusion. In short, Fail succeeds, and does so with compassion.”--Michael A. Kahn, award-winning author of Face Value and The Flinch Factor.“Chicago has Scott Turow, Boston Dennis Lehane, LA James Elroy. Finally St. Louis has its laureate of fiction, Rick Skwiot. His new novel, Fail, is a sheer success. Skwiot hits for the fences and stylishly touches all the bases — money, municipal politics, police corruption, infidelity, suicide, homicide, all rendered in crackling prose.”--Michael Mewshaw, author of Sympathy for the Devil: Four Decades of Friendship with Gore Vidal“Fail is a riveting spellbinding tale with intricate characters that are depicted through carefully crafted imagery of iconic St. Louis landmarks bolstered by lucid vernacular accuracy reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the city.”--John Baugh, author of Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice and former director African and African American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis"In Fail Rick Skwiot has written a story that will endure…[T]he flawlessly pitched voices, the intricate plot—tying academia and Mark Twain to the gritty streets of St. Louis—and the vividly realized characters are all as good as it gets in detective stories. Skwiot has squeezed himself into a spot between [Dashiell] Hammett and [John D.] MacDonald, and I suspect they would be happy to have him there."--Michael Pearson, author of Reading Life—On Books, Memory, and Travel (2015)“Skwiot's finest. Set on the mean streets and back alleys of St. Louis, Fail is a big, two-hearted yarn of political corruption and moral decay. The unforgettable police detective, Carlo Gabriel, who handles the investigation, must first grapple with his own transgressions before he can unravel the wooly skein of betrayal and depravity surrounding him. A tale that could well have been ripped from the front page of any city in the country.”--John Leslie, author of Border Crossing“The twisting plot and fascinating characters will keep readers turning the pages, but the underlying problem exposed by this vital novel is dead serious. In snappy, vivid, hard-boiled language, Skwiot lays bare the root cause of most of our societal woes: our failed education system. It is no mere coincidence the story takes place in St. Louis, the heartland city that has come to represent our greater national tragedy. Fail is a wake-up call.”--Kelly Daniels, author of Cloudbreak, California“Art imitates life in this prescient novel. Both crime fiction and a clarion call to rescue America's underserved schools, Fail is also proof positive that the Ferguson, Missouri, uprising was inevitable.”--Terry Baker Mulligan, author of Afterlife in Harlem“Not all the snow that blankets St. Louis city in Fail can begin to whitewash its political corruption and educational malpractice, but through all the darkness hope for change emerges. A cynical detective ventures far outside his comfort zone, risking everything to keep an idealistic teacher alive long enough to expose ugly truths. A microcosm for what ails society, Fail is an intelligent read that refuses to pass the buck, earning a classy A.”--Scott L. Miller, author of Counterfeit and Interrogation“The rapid pace, seamless unfolding and well-crafted plot of this mystery … [are] balanced with the incisive depiction of two contrasting main characters—a crusading English teacher and [a] worldly-wise, battered cop. This tale is a trenchant reminder that the urban cocktail of poverty in the face of wealth, St. Louis’s famous segregated sprawl … and corruption in high places nationwide, is an explosive mix.”--Peter H. Green, author of Crimes of Design