Eureka Hardcover William Diehl Ballantine 2002 1st printing


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Eureka Hardcover 1st Edition/1st Printing
by William Diehl (Author)

Eureka. It’s what you say when you strike gold. It’s also a town in California where the truth might be buried forever.

In NY Times bestselling author William Diehl’s thrilling, accomplished new novel, the seamy past of America’s most glamorous state lies in this deceptively peaceful area, one hundred miles north of Los Angeles. It was the lawless place from which young, rugged Thomas Culhane escaped to fight World War I. Now it’s a place where, two decades later, police detective Zeke Bannon investigates a death that seems a sad accident.

Until you look a bit closer.

The year is 1941. Verna Wilensky has been electrocuted in her bathtub, leaving a lower-middle-class life, no survivors, and a bank account packed with almost a hundred thousand dollars. Mysterious checks have consistently come to her for more than twenty years, most drawn from a bank in San Pietro, a town once known as Eureka.

Eureka was a town that used to be a bootlegger’s paradise and a gangster’s dream. Now it is the rebuilt metropolis where Sheriff Thomas Culhane is launching a bid to be the golden state’s next governor. But something just might threaten his ambitions. As Bannon digs deeper into Wilensky’s demise, he unearths a decades-old secret that starts in a shootout, builds to a bloodbath, and could end up within the upper echelons of California’s elite, forever changing the destiny of a state.

Rich in historical detail, complex in its connection between past and present, and filled with the nonstop action that are the hallmarks of this modern master, Eureka is an epic achievement of storytelling and suspense–William Diehl’s most extraordinary novel yet.

Publisher Ballantine (2002)
Hardcover 737 pages
ISBN-13 978-0345411464
Weight 2.1 pounds
Dimensions 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches

William Diehl shows his versatility as a writer and story teller in this novel which covers most of the first half of the 20th Century. It is a story with many facets, but essentially it is about the lives of two strong men and how the events of the time brought them together.

It is 1941 and Homicide Detective Sargeant Zee Bannon, LAPD is looking into what at first appears to be an accidental death. Verna Wilensky has been electrocuted by a radio falling into her bath or so it seems until the coroner discovers that her lungs are full of water. It is also discovered that the unfortunate Ms. Wilensky was the recipient of a monthly cashier’s check for $500 for many years and that efforts to trace her background end abruptly in 1928. It turns out that many of the checks were drawn on banks located in the town of San Pietro.

The town itself has undergone quite a change since 1928, including changing it’s name. It was originally founded as Eureka and during that time it was a haven for bootlegging, gambling and all of the things those activities spawn.

We are told the story, early on of how Eureka came to change through the activities of Thomas Brodie Culhane. Growing up poor and orphaned, Culhane becomes best friends with the son of one of the town’s wealthiest men Eli Gorman, who has plans for making Eureka a proper town, free from the vice and the characters that are controlling it. The story of how he goes about that is as interesting as the rest of the book and that part of the story continues to weave itself through what follows as the investigation into the death of Ms. Wilensky continues.

By the time Sargeant Bannon comes calling, Brodie Culhane is the town’s Sheriff and a war hero and throughout the remainder of the book the characters are intertwined until the end. Trying to relate it in outline form here would not do it justice.

This is the first book in a long time that after finishing it, I was tempted to reread it immediately. The characters are beautifully drawn and the story has so many interesting twists and turns that I am sure I missed something on the first time through. However, what I did not miss was one of the best reading experiences I have had in a long, long time and I read a lot and I like a lot of what I read. This is an exceptional book by an author who clearly takes the time necessary to write and tell his story.


Minor shelf wear to dust jacket along top. Book is like new.