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The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb (Berger and Mitry, #10)
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The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb

(Berger and Mitry #10)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The historic New England village of Dorset has actually elected a living, breathing woman as its First Selectman. And now she's about to undertake the Historic District's biggest public works project in a generation–the widening and re-grading of Dorset Street. The job has needed doing for ages but the previous First Selectman, Bob Paffin, always opposed it. So did a lot o ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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3.91  · 
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 ·  284 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I saw the end for this coming a mile away and it didn't bother me in the least. David Handler can't write this series fast enough for me.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. It's not high literature, so don't go into it looking for that, but I love the love story between Des and Mitch. They are completely relatable. And Dorset feels like home.
Gabi Coatsworth
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Part police procedural and part cozy mystery, set in an otherwise bucolic Connecticut shore town, this was almost like an American Midsummer Murders. The fact that it's the tenth in the series leads me to think that the murder rate may be almost as high as in that English village.
I loved the characters of Des (short for Desiree) our feisty black police officer and artist, and her lover, Mitch, whose penchant for, and encyclopedic knowledge of old movies probably reflects the author's own intere
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I love this mismatched crime team and love the small town New England setting. I'd say this plot was totally beyond belief--unless you know how things were in the late 60s in preppy enclaves. If you do, it's actually plausible. Keep on writing about Des and Mitch and I'll keep on reading.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love this series: but this novel was a little short for my taste, and the character development was virtually non-existent. If you haven't read the other books, you won't get it.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this author!!! Every single book I’ve read is excellent. This book - total fun read. Wonderful, fully developed characters. On of the first author who when a character finds a dead body, I can feel the horror of the moment. Very good app work. This is an author who can weave a complex story, simply.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I'm sure part of the problem was randomly reading a later book in a series, but... I don't know, the whole thing was a bit odd. People sure were chatty about their pasts, and a good thing, too, I suppose, or the mystery wouldn't have been solved.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty convoluted. The main theme is always things aren’t always what they seem.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great, quick read! Felt like reading a TV mystery show. Definitely checking out more of the series.
Cardyn Brooks
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, go-to-series
Desiree and Mitch are in a tie with Lizzie and John for my favorite police officer-civilian crimefighting couple who also happen to be a BW/WM pairing. Handler's series gets the edge over Frankie Y. Bailey's simply because he's written more entries.

The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb blends past and present social class hierarchy with smalltown politics, shared secrets, and the impact of the digital age on industries and individuals. Desiree and Mitch's personal relationship as influenced by their back
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
A nice mystery set in the fictional town of Dorset, Connecticut. It has been said that if you can't read the first book in a series (and it's out of print in this instance), then read the latest. So here I am reading the latest in this series. The mystery revolves around a dead body found when the main street of the town is to be repaved, for the first time in decades. A sailor is found who disappeared all those years ago. Lots of old wounds are opened among the town's older inhabitants. New Yor ...more
I will preface this review with a disclaimer that this was my first Berger and Mitry book, so maybe I missed something amazing in the first nine books.

I picked The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb up for a challenge, it was short and I figured a mystery/thriller would probably move quickly and I could fly through it. Not so much.

I didn't feel any sort of connection to any of the characters in this book - I didn't even get a good sense of who Berger & Mitry are. Maybe I missed 9 books of character d
Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
It is always enjoyable to sit down with Mitch Berger and Des Mitry in historic Dorset, Connecticut. It's like visiting with old friends. This time out, the new First Selectman, er, Woman, has decided to dig up old Dorset Road, widen it, repave it and put in sidewalks. Unfortunately, in pulling up the old pavement, the crew finds the skeleton of a Navy pilot, still in dress blues and wearing his class ring. It is the body of Lance Paffin, the worst womanizer in Dorset County, who disappeared 47 y ...more
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it
The new first selectman of the bucolic town of Dorset is a woman, and even worse, a woman with new ideas. When she decides that the main street should be repaved, she sets off a furor among the old guard, including her widowed mother. Resident trooper Des Mitry finds out why when the construction company finds a dead body buried under the pavement. Des and her boyfriend, movie critic Mitch Berger, are forced to investigate when the major crime squad cannot immediately get away from other, more t ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Everyone who has seen the Mozart opera is aware that Don Juan ended up being dragged down to hell, but then what? Well, it turns out that he has been buried under the asphalt of Dorset’s main street all this time in a coal black tomb. As usual, the characters rather than the plot are the reason for reading the story. Trooper Des Mitry gets to lead the investigation for a while and film critic Mitch Berger gets to muse on old movies asking questions such as why Joseph Cotton, who had major roles ...more
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this guy (David Handler)! His relaxed & quirky writing style appeals to me and I'm glad I stumbled upon "The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb". This is a well done mystery plot with wit, sarcasm, and tenderness aplenty, though I had a problem at first getting all the multiple & intertwined characters set in my head. Apparently the romantic crime-fighting duo of Mitry & Berger have been winning mystery fans over for quite a while. Who knew? Well, I do now, and look forward to reading t ...more
Nancy H
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Another good entry in the Berger and Mitry series, this book tells the story of what happens when a road crew exposes a skeleton during their new re-paving project, and how that skeleton causes further exposure of secrets long held by the town's 'old guard'. Des and Mitch have their hands full trying to find out the truth, especially as another death occurs during their investigation. Definitely a good read.
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
The sleepy little village of Dorset has buried a dark secret for over 40 years and it's finally been dug up - the skeletal remains of Lt. Lance Puffin, former first selectman Bob Puffin's elder brother. Who killed him and then buried him under the pavement? Who knew about it? Who helped keep it a secret? This is what State Resident Trooper Des Mitry and New York City film critic Mitch Berger work together to solve. And they do it so well and with such style!
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, mystery
Love this series and this one was strong. But it was a little strange how when only recently Mitch got 'fit' in this book he's back to acting and talking like his chubbier self. Not sure what happened there. Also, quite a bit of rehash of the characters' back stories and history. A little like author is reminding himself or audience what they should already know. Maybe it's been a few years and he felt like everyone needed a refresher?
Chi Dubinski
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The main street of Dorset, Connecticut, has been neglected for years. When a woman is elected as first selectwoman, her first order of business is to widen and regrade the street. But when the body of a Navy flier is found under the asphalt, State Trooper Desiree Mitry understand the decades of opposition to the road repairs. An outstanding series—what more can I say?
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This wasn't the best Berger & Mitry mystery but at this point in the series that was to be expected. This is still one of my favorite beach read series and it's always nice to check in with this couple. No Bella this time though. If you read the rest of the series you'll probably read this too. So enjoy.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lance Wright
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-titles
While the mystery storyline here is incredibly light, not necessarily weak but not very demanding either, this tenth entry in this series largely accomplishes what it sets out to do, providing a few hours of reading entertainment. Read our full review, here:
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Sadly, this is the last in the series at the moment, so I will have to wait for more. These are so well written and thought out. I really recommend them for anyone who loves a good mystery, or just a good story.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
3.5 *'s


Can't this community do anything in a normal way?!? It reminds me of Midsomer Murders...
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another wonderful installment in the Berger and Mitry series. David Handler does such a wonderful job of building the relationship between these two--he a New York movie critic and she a State trooper. Not to be missed, but begin with the first title in the series.
David Marshall
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is entertaining even though it's fairly obvious who the killer must have been. Its a pleasing blend of contemporary mystery and cold case historical fiction.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favorite mystery series. Mitch and Des are like old friends. Another Great Read as Mitch and Des find out who was the killer of the body entombed under Main Street.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a fun read and the main characters make me feel like I know them. Enjoy the author's use of contrasts and development of the supporting characters
Mike C.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great addition to this series.
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Mansfield Public ...: The"The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb"review by Ann Pedro 1 1 Jul 16, 2014 10:19AM  

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AKA Russell Andrews (with Peter Gethers)

David Handler, who began his career in New York as a journalist, was born and raised in Los Angeles and published two highly acclaimed novels about growing up there, Kiddo and Boss, before resorting to a life of crime fiction.

Other books in the series

Berger and Mitry (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Cold Blue Blood (Berger and Mitry, #1)
  • The Hot Pink Farmhouse (Berger and Mitry, #2)
  • The Bright Silver Star (Berger and Mitry, #3)
  • The Burnt Orange Sunrise (Berger and Mitry, #4)
  • The Sweet Golden Parachute (Berger and Mitry, #5)
  • The Sour Cherry Surprise (Berger and Mitry, #6)
  • The Shimmering Blond Sister (Berger and Mitry, #7)
  • The Blood Red Indian Summer (Berger and Mitry, #8)
  • The Snow White Christmas Cookie (Berger and Mitry, #9)
  • Lavender Lane Lothario (Berger and Mitry, #11)