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Past Due

By: William Lashner
Narrated by: Peter Francis James
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Editor reviews

Standout Audible performer Peter Francis James takes listeners into the dark and thrilling world of defense attorney Victor Carl with this audiobook from William Lashner. With James' gritty voice, Past Due grabs the listener by the collar and takes him along Carl's seedy and mysterious journey as he tries to figure out just how one of his clients could come to an early end. The deeper Carl goes, the more mysteries he uncovers, and he quickly finds himself caught in the crosshairs. Past Due is a suspenseful tale full of unexpected turns that cements William Lashner to the head of the mystery novel class.


A defense attorney who lives his life in shades of gray, Victor Carl fights all the right fights for all the wrong reasons. With a failing legal practice, a dead-end love life, and a pile of unpaid traffic tickets, Victor skates on the razor's edge of legal ethics in search of the easy buck. But the one absolute in Victor's life is loyalty, especially to a client, even if he happens to be dead. Like Joey Cheaps, a no-account who takes a knife to the throat down on the waterfront, but not before he shares with his lawyer his part in a terrible crime.

With his client murdered, Victor must search for a killer. But solving the crime means investigating the darkest spot in Joey Cheap's misspent youth, sending Victor on a twisting journey that leads to a missing suitcase stuffed with money, photographs of a mysterious naked woman, and a Supreme Court justice with a secret to hide. And most dangerous of all, Victor steps into the crosshairs of a vengeful enemy with a past full of pain and a taste for blood.

As thrilling as it is darkly evocative, Past Due is a superb tale of crime and justice that takes the intrepid Victor Carl into brilliant new territory and confirms William Lashner's place among the top suspense writers of our time.

©2004 William Lashner (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Lashner's writing (or is it Victor's character?) gains depth and richness with every installment." (Publishers Weekly)
"Lashner...has a rich, sometimes poetic style, but he leavens his prose with humor that fluctuates between morbid and whimsical. This is an extremely good crime novel, and it vaults Lashner into the upper reaches of the hardboiled universe, along with Pelecanos, Lehane, and a very few others." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Past Due

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A. L. DeWitt
  • 18-10-05

More Detective Than Legal Thriller

Apparently Mr. Lashner wants to write about cops. Instead, however, he has written about lawyers. In this adventure Mr. Carl, the quixotic hero, investigates the death of a dead client to learn why it happened. While you could believe Mr. Carl would investigate to get his fee, or to make some money, somehow the idea of Victor Carl as the guy who is in to solving mysteries without an upside for Mr. Carl is a bit of a stretch. I have enjoyed Mr. Lashner's other work, and this one is a forgiveable distraction from an otherwise stellar set of books.
It is a good listen, and picks up where Fatal Flaw left off. Carl uses "Skink" among others to solve the mystery, and even without a lot of foreshadowing (of which there is simply too much), you could have known where this one was going.

Overall, its a B- ... not his best work.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Boyce
  • 17-09-14

Weak story, weakly told

What disappointed you about Past Due?

What didn't disappoint me? There was only the vaguest of plot lines. No suspense whatsoever. And I have read Lashner's Hostile Witness and loved it. I read it ten years ago in print and again a few days ago in audio. Also read Veritas and liked it. Past Due was useless.

What was most disappointing about William Lashner’s story?

There was no story. Barely even an attempt at a story.

What aspect of Peter Francis James’s performance would you have changed?

Hard to say when the material is so bad. I did not care for his voice though. Rather harsh.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom. I finally quit on it. It will be going back to Audible.