The Jay Porter Series
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.
—Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
Clifford paints true-to-life characters with the same gritty touch as the best of Dennis Lehane. Straightforward and edgy, Lamentation gnaws with nail-biting tension on every page. A must-read for contemporary hardboiled mystery fans who appreciate the type of terse dialogue and real life conflicts and settings Elmore Leonard so richly brought to life.
—Robert Dugoni, bestselling author of The Conviction
When it comes to bleak and grim, Joe Clifford’s Lamentation is right up there with Nordic crime fiction, because the February weather in northern New Hampshire—where Clifford’s book is set—adds to the novel’s sharp edge…. family is family, author Clifford seems to be saying in this touching, insightful novel, and we take what we can get—whatever the damage to ourselves.
—Mystery Scene Magazine
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.
December Boys is gritty and addicting. Clifford doesn’t waste any time diving straight into the plot, dragging his readers into a conspiracy so enthralling they won’t be able to put the book down until they’ve unraveled all the knots.
December Boys is sprawling yet oddly intimate, character-driven yet mysterious and involving and psychologically accurate yet not necessarily bound by the need to belong to a particular genre. It is a gorgeous and thoroughly unique novel.
—Dead End Follies
Give Up the Dead
Three years have passed since estate-clearing handyman Jay Porter almost lost his life following a devastating accident on the thin ice of Echo Lake. His investigative work uncovering a kids-for-cash scandal may have made his hometown of Ashton, New Hampshire, a safer place, but nothing comes without a price. The traumatic, uncredited events cost Jay his wife and his son, and left him with a permanent leg injury. Jay is just putting his life back together when a mysterious stranger stops by with an offer too good to be true: a large sum of cash in exchange for finding a missing teenage boy who may have been abducted by a radical recovery group in the northern New Hampshire wilds. Skeptical of gift horses and weary of reenlisting in the local drug war, Jay passes on the offer. The next day his boss is found beaten and left for dead, painting Jay the main suspect. As clues begin to tie the two cases together, Jay finds himself back on the job and back in the line of fire.
Joe Clifford is an underground star. Give Up The Dead should finally expose his star to the light. Jay Porter is a hard-bitten and hard-boiled loner who manages to make you root for him and all the world’s underdogs.
—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author
Joe Clifford’s propulsive third installment starring Jay Porter kept me turning the pages long into the night. Give Up the Dead is character-driven noir at its finest.
—Jennifer Hillier, author of Things We Do in the Dark
At an AA meeting, handyman and part-time investigator Jay Porter meets a recovering addict who needs his help. In the midst of another grueling northern New Hampshire winter, Amy Lupus’ younger sister, Emily, has gone missing from the Coos County Center, the newly opened rehab run by Jay’s old nemeses, Adam and Michael Lombardi. As Jay begins looking into Emily’s disappearance, he finds that all who knew Emily swear that she’s never used drugs. She’s a straight shooter and an intern at a newspaper investigating the Center—and the horrendous secret hidden in it—or beneath it.
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 that hard drive may have 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.
Broken Ground, the newest addition to the terrific Jay Porter series, has brilliant writing to match… The depth of the characters. The vividness of the New Hampshire winter setting. The importance of the novel’s theme. Joe Clifford’s a crime writer to pay attention to!
—David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author
Joe Clifford’s latest in the Jay Porter series is a tense, emotional tour de force ferried along on a mystery that’s both timely and chilling. Don’t miss this!
—Jamie Mason, author of Three Graves Full
Clifford’s edgy prose and masterful pacing, combined with flawed and profoundly human Jay Porter at the helm, make Broken Ground irresistible.
—Wendy Walker, author of All Is Not Forgotten
Joe Clifford writes with empathy, wisdom, and wicked wit about characters at the edge of society, sobriety, and their own tenuous sanity. Broken Ground is a feast, and Jay Porter is a unique noir hero who shines brightly in a dark world.
—Nick Petrie, author of Light It Up
Rag and Bone
Having spent ten months on the run after he was framed for the murder of an estate-clearing associate, handyman Jay Porter returns to his hometown of Ashton, New Hampshire. During his time as a fugitive, he searched for a hard drive—evidence that would put his longtime nemeses Adam and Michael Lombardi behind bars. But he came up empty handed.
He has nothing. No hard drive, no hope. He hasn’t spoken to his ex-wife and son in almost a year and he’s broke. With his reputation tarnished and employment opportunities nonexistent, Jay takes a charity assignment from old friend/flame Alison Rodgers and learns of a fire at Alison’s former rehab farm. Jay is convinced that the Lombardis started a fire as a scare tactic to pressure Alison to sell. As Jay begins to look into the origins of the fire, he hopes he will finally be able to put away his enemies. But he soon discovers that evil isn’t so easy to define, and that sometimes we need to take the law into our own hands if we want justice.