New York Noir meets the Ten Commandments...
Private eye Felix Strange doesn't work homicide cases. He saw enough dead bodies fighting in Iran, a war that left him with a crippling disease that has no name and no cure. So when Strange is summoned to a Manhattan hotel room to investigate the dead body of America's most-loved preacher, he'd rather not get involved.
Strange has a week to find the killer, and even less time to get the black-market medicine he needs to stay alive. In an America where biblical prophecy is foreign policy, Strange knows that his hiring is no accident. He can't see all the angles, and he knows he's being watched. In a race against time Strange must face religious police, organized crime and a dame with very particular ideas, while uncovering a conspiracy that reaches the very heart of his newly fundamentalist nation.
One of the most stunningly original debut crime novels ever written, The First Stone is both an epic of the imagination and an action-packed mystery set in a time and place too chillingly close to our own. It is the first in an ambitious trilogy that pays homage to the genius of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, while offering a wholly original take on the noir genre.
In many ways the most intriguing of new John Murray crop ... Strange is a very sympathetic hero, who does what private eyes do best by stirring the hornets nest (and these are some pretty whacky hornets) and a fabulous sense of pace is engendered from page one. This is a very impressive first thriller indeed. More are promised; or if they re not, should be - Shots
The prose style is smooth and entertaining ... Hall s world-building remains excellent throughout, creating a truly unsettling future America - SFX Magazine
The First Stone is a knockout debut with the confidence to establish its world gradually ... Strange s sardonic wit makes him the perfect guide to his troublingly familiar landscape - Guardian
A sharp and original debut novel - Tangled Web
It s a really good, traditional private eye story in its own right, coupled with a subtle and believable picture of a fundamentalist state - Morning Star
A menacing portrait of an all too plausible future ... a very readable, fast-paced thriller - The Big Issue
This debut crime novel is best read under a sweltering sun . . . against a deftly drawn backdrop, it is ingenious and witty - Daily Telegraph
'An outstanding first novel by a new Canadian author we should hear more of' - Independent