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A Man of Lies

A Novel

Published by Pegasus Crime
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

When his lover is killed by their mob boss, a hardened criminal insider decides to pursue one last elaborate heist in an effort to rid himself of his underground lifestyle for good.

Barrett Rye has always been told he can be only one thing in life: an enforcer. He's a seven-foot wall of muscle and the most effective collector in the largest criminal enterprise in the Midwest. After he realizes he wants more out of life than hurting people, he and his mob accountant boyfriend, Mickey, decide to steal enough money from their boss to disappear and start over. But they get caught, Mickey is killed, and Barrett is given one chance to pay back his debts.

His plan is simple. He knows that Henry Holzmann, a small-time mafioso in Omaha, has a lead on the score of a lifetime. Barrett can't get the prize himself, but he's not trying to. He just needs a piece of it. He is going to cause so much chaos—and throw Holzmann's life into such disarray—that the man will pay him anything to make it stop.

But nothing ever stays simple, and Barrett has always been too clever for his own good. As the mayhem he has seeded spirals out of control, it will take all his prodigious strength and wit to stay alive, and he'll have to decide: Does he want to win, or does he want to be the better man that he has always wanted to be?

About The Author

Ben Crane wanted to be an architect until he was seven years old and the carefully plotted fort in his parents' basement collapsed after ten minutes. He is a former film executive whose credits include the Jack Ryan and Equalizer franchises. He lives with his partner and their two dogs in Los Angeles, where he plays board games. In his spare time, he writes novels and comics.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Crime (July 4, 2023)
  • Length: 353 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781639364107

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Raves and Reviews

“While the book perfectly captures the near fatalistic tone of noir crime fiction at its best, Crane also gives world-weary readers a small measure of hope for the future with his pointed and poignant insights into life and love.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Crane’s ambitious, fast-moving debut follows a gay mobster desperate to leave the underworld behind. There’s a lot of bloodshed and a lot of plot twists here. Bold and exciting.”

Publishers Weekly

"With razor-sharp writing, a plot that twists and turns without ever veering off course, and an anti-hero protagonist who proves resourceful and sympathetic, Ben Crane claims a spot on the bookshelf next to Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen.”

Ellen Byron, Agatha and Lefty Award-winning author

"A Man of Lies is the kind of book you never want to end, a muscular thrill ride with an exhilarating intellectual workout on the side. I started it unsure whether I could get into a book set in the Chicago underworld, but Crane writes with tremendous cleverness, compassion, and wit, and he has a superb command of language and craft. His narrator, Barrett Rye, is a genuinely unique, a fully dimensional character, and very, very good company. The book delivers twist after twist, surprise after surprise. Crane’s knowledge of the seamy world he takes the reader into is so compelling and intimate that you start to wonder if he learned it or lived it. A terrific read.”

Ellen Pall, author of Must Read Well

"With a seven-feet-tall antihero protagonist, dialogue as rapid as gunfire, Ben Crane’s A Man of Lies is fast, fun, dark, witty, and immediately visual, a tale of murder and revenge that fires on every possible cylinder.”

Jonathan Santlofer, bestselling author of The Last Mona Lisa

"Ben Crane’s debut is a winner right out of the gate. I flew through the pages of this novel, with its palpable sense of place and cast of desperate, lonely characters vying for a priceless lost treasure. At the story’s center is mob enforcer Barrett Rye, The Man of Lies himself, determined to get out after one last score. A novel with echoes of Dennis Lehane and Don Winslow that stakes out new territory the author makes his own, this is a propulsive, irresistibly readable tour de force of crime and redemption. Bravo, Ben Crane!”

Debbie Babitt, author of First Victim

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