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Cemetery Road

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The new novel from a critically acclaimed and award-winning author - When Errol 'Handy' White returns to his native Los Angeles to attend the funeral of his old friend R.J. Burrow, who has been brutally murdered, a terrible secret threatens to reveal itself. Twenty-six years earlier, Handy, R.J. and O'Neal Holden pulled a heist that went horrible awry, and Handy's been wai ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Severn House Digital (first published 2009)
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Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was thrilled to run across a new fiction title from one of my favorite mystery writers, Gar Anthony Haywood. His Aaron Gunner detective series have brought me hours of reading enjoyment. His pen name Ray Shannon books were sassy and smart yarns. I got a kick out of his funny Loudermilk series, as well. CEMETERY ROAD is a stand alone hardboiled fiction set in L.A. I won't go into the plotline. What I will mention is the great sturdy prose and the astute understanding of youthful regret and guil ...more
Georgiann Hennelly
This is the first time i,ve read anything by this author.This was a truly amazing read.He truly raises the bar for thriller writers. The story is set in South Central L.A.A childhood friends death brings Handy back home to resolve some consequences caused by a crime they committed in their youth. And to find the killer of his friend.
Nigel Bird
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Guilt. It’s a powerful emotion, one that wrestles with heart and mind alike and usually wins with an easy pin-down. Just ask Raskolnikov and Handy White.
Cemetery Road opens with memories of the last day Handy spent in Los Angeles. The year was 1979, the smell of tar was overwhelming and Handy and his buddies O’Neal Holden and RJ Burrow are burning the money they’ve stolen from a rather unpleasant drug dealer.
It’s a shame they couldn’t have burned their guilt along with it.
Instead, the three men
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first book I've read by Gar Haywood. I read this book based on Ed's review.

When his old friend R.J. Burrow is brutally murdered in Los Angeles, Errol "Handy" White must return from exile to attend the funeral, certain that a terrible secret is about to reveal itself. (from inside jacket of book)

Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this book. However, when giving it a rating, I was torn between a 3 and a 4. I would have given it a 3.5, but because the story was complex and layered, I r
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Interesting to read for many reasons including the intimate look at Los Angeles from the eyes and experiences of a former resident who sees the before and after portrait of a version of Los Angeles not often portrayed, not the glitter of Tinseltown, or the glamor of celebrity, but the gritty reality that many black residents experienced.
The story builds slowly revealing a sober reality that the best laid plans often go badly awry, and have the potential for violence and despair; as well as the
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I really enjoyed this book - it was well-written and well-plotted. The L.A. setting interested me - the novel presented a side of the city that I had not seen before in fiction. The writing style seemed reminiscent of a very noir-fashion. The characters really came to life - all the more impressive due to the novel’s brevity (only 215 pages in the hard cover version). The entire novel packed a surprisingly powerful punch - everything the plot and the backstory unfolded into an absolutely stellar ...more
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aloud
First of all, had it not been for the ALOUD series at the Los Angeles Central Library, I don't know if or when I would ever have discovered Gar Anthony Haywood's writing. As is evidenced by my rating of this book, however, I am very grateful to have discovered his work. 'Cemetery Road' is a smart, suspenseful, well thought-out, and well organized work of crime/mystery fiction. It is not a particularly lengthy book, but it is a fantastic story that is deserving of a reader's time. There is no dou ...more
Deborah Ledford
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, thriller
What an amazing read! Gar Anthony Haywood raises the bar for thriller writers in this literary, yet approachable tale of a man who unwillingly, yet obsessively takes it upon himself to find the killer of a friend from their dubious past. I have highlighted so many passages in “Cemetery Road” to later return to that I don't dare lend my copy out. My plan is to now acquire everything else Mr. Haywood has written and revel in his lyrical passages.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a 5 star novel.

216 pages and I felt like I was reading War and Peace. I often contemplated sending it to sit on my Abandon Books Shelf. I'm happy I finished it. I admire it tremendously, but it will never reach favorite status for me. It's a conundrum.

If you haven't read this book, I would definitely recommend it.
Tim Chamberlain
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written for the KAZI Book Review (

Gar Anthony Haywood, author of the Aaron Gunner Mysteries, delivers an intricate and thoughtful crime story with his newest novel, Cemetery Road.

The story centers on Errol ‘Handy’ White, who returns from Minnesota to his hometown of Los Angeles to attend the funeral of an old friend who was murdered. This friend, RJ Burrows, and another friend (O’Neal Holden, now a local politician) committed a heist with Handy that went ter
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feelings.

I hate it when a narrator is relating the story and then goes "oh, what I didn't tell you is that yesterday I called his sister and got answers to my questions that's why I'm asking this guy these question". That type of thing happens alot here. Including a jaw-dropper after the final confrontation -- to which I responded "you've GOT to be kidding me!"

OTOH, tricks like that keep it from being 475 pages.

I also don't think it's fair to the reader for a first person narrator not to m
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an engrossing story which kept me intrigued by the way it alternated from present to past, slowly revealing the backstory bit by bit, with the current story being just as gripping. It was interesting to see how guilt affects each of the characters, all of whom are flawed in some way - there are no good or bad guys in this story.

One criticism of the story is that I thought that Handy's daughter was superfluous to the story - that particular thread lead nowhere and to me it looked as if sh
Johnny Flora
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I wasn't going to read this novel because it is set in a gang crime ridden area of Los Angeles and this is the kind of location I've lived in and worked my entire life, so needless to say the subject at hand could easily become boring and redundant to me, but Gar Anthony Hayward is a true story technician and managed to make an honest depiction of the inner phyche of a trio of inner city, gang style brothers. Eventually after much intrigue and investigation the novel evolves and takes t ...more
Deb Mj
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this at a time when we were going through some family drama and, for that reason, I didn't give it the attention it so richly deserved. Still, I am struck by the wonderful plotline and the story-telling over the two periods of time encompassed by the book. Haywood's writing style is magnificent. It's expansive and wonderfully descriptive. Case in point? As Handy describes his daughter, "She had taken the sorryow of a motherless child and made a funeral blanket out of it, a shroud she coul ...more
I cannot lie - I only came across this one on the library shelf after searching twice for the next Sookie Stackhouse in the series and coming up short each time - and I'm glad I did or I may never have discovered this author. The characters, story and writing are great! The main character, Handy, is flawed yet honest in his pursuit of the truth. You want him on your side in any fight - no questions asked. The author jumped from past to present with just the right touch to keep you guessing until ...more
Christian Lincoln
Seriously good ersatz detective protag, who is made believable by his diagnostic abilities as a handyman, mr. fixit. He steps right into an oily puddle from his past, and has to pay up for his sins. The unconscious push towards confession three men live with for over twenty years, slowly leading them towards some need for absolution is interesting. And this novel is about one man untangling the lies surround the truth, like any good crime novel.
Ryan Mishap
While fairly well-written, with a serious, sad, and older main character, I struggled to buy into the plot line. The past comes back to get ya is one theme. The elegiac atmosphere cast a pall over the story, which is great sometimes but it gave the whole book a flat tone. Nobody but the main character really gets illuminated. I can't say my main problem without spoilers, so, let's say for Haywood completists?
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am torn over this review. I really enjoyed the book, the writing was very good and I thought the story was thought provoking. However the language was pretty bad. I suppose you just try and skip over it. That being said I enjoyed how the story line developed by going from the present to 26 years ago.
I would have given 5 stars if not for the language.
I enjoyed the complexity of what the three young men actually did back in the 70's. The way the author doles out scraps of information throughout the entire story really help to keep you guessing the whole way. Then, once you get to the end and have it all put together, it becomes very clear. Enjoyable crime mystery.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous character study as well as a suspenseful, well plotted mystery. Haywood's story examines the crushing burden of guilt and loss on the self and family and friends.
The story provides a gritty and realistic view of South Central Los Angeles without being over-the-top noir.
Frank Spinney
I am just starting this book, based on all the talk and recommendations I have heard read on Goodread. Thanks all!!!Cemetery Road
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: its-okay
Two & one half stars for this one. Started strong, the author's style had me intrigued. Soft finish, rather disappointing. For a while I thought that I had come across a new favorite story teller. Oops, not so fast there Bucko.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty solid mystery/drama of a ex-small time criminal confronting his past. As generic as it sounds, this is actually a really interesting story and title character. I look forward to his next book.
Apr 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 friends committed a robbery of a drug dealer. Anything that could go wrong did. To avoid suspicion they separated and have not seen each other for years. Now one of them has been murdered. Is this related to the long ago robbery, and are the other 2 next. Just OK to read.
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one. It's very well written with interesting characters and great pacing. I liked how the back story, which is the cause of the guilt which drives the story, is revealed little by little throughout the book. I'd recommend it.
Susan Welch
Oct 27, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
BL Year's Best Crime Novels May 1, 2010
hold placed 10/26/2010
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The mean streets of LA are re-visited by an ex-patriot with a past. A dark mystery with interesting characters.
Brandon Nagel
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first by this author. Great characters, really good story. I will be picking up more from Haywood in the future.
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely well-written especially because he kept going back in the past to keep the story moving. It was a little slow moving for my taste but it was quite exciting and inviting.
Mysti Berry
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-writers
Read this book! Then talk to me about friendship and crime.
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aka Ray Shannon.

Gar Anthony Harwood also writes as Ray Shannon. He has won the Shamus and Anthony Award for his mystery fiction. He writes stand-alone novels and short-stories as well as series. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, written scripts for television drama series (e.g. New York Undercover and the District) and Movies of the Week for ABC. He is a member
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