Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Sweet Sunday

by John Lawton

Sweet Sunday is set in the tumultuous ’60s . . . in the U.S., where private eye Turner Raines has a specialty: tracking down draft dodgers . . . convincingly nails the essence of those chaotic years.” —Seattle Times

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date November 04, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9237-0
  • US List Price $15.00

About The Book

A standalone from one of England’s best-loved literary thriller writers, regularly compared to John Le Carré and Philip Kerr, Sweet Sunday takes the reader back to the hot, sweaty summer of 1969, the American summer in the American year in the American century.

Turner Raines is not a typical New York private eye. He is a has-been—among the things he has been are a broken Civil Rights worker, a second-rate lawyer, and a tenth-rate journalist. But in 1969, as the USA is about to land a man on the moon, and the Vietnam War is set to continue to rip the country to pieces, Raines is working as a private detective helping draft-dodgers make it to Canada. As Norman Mailer finalizes his campaign for Mayor of New York, Raines leaves the city for Toronto, and by the time Raines gets back, his oldest friend is dead, the city has changed forever, and with it, his life. As Raines follows the trail of his friend’s death, he finds himself blasted back to the Texas of his childhood, confronted anew with his divided family, and blown into the path of certain people who know about secret goings-on in Vietnam, stories they may now be willing to tell.


“A terrific job . . . excellent at catching the mood of that hot summer of 1969 when the Vietnam War had divided families.” —Observer (London)

“A sprawling heartbreaker of a novel.” —Literary Review

Sweet Sunday is set in the tumultuous ’60s. Lawton has done historical crime before, in his excellent (if slightly creepy) series about Inspector Troy, a WWII-era London police detective. This time we’re in the U.S., where private eye Turner Raines has a specialty: tracking down draft dodgers. . . . Lawton convincingly nails the essence of those chaotic years.” —Adam Woog, Seattle Times

“Anyone familiar with Lawton’s Inspector Troy series of mysteries already knows that he is a master of time and place. Every rationed meal, every stolen car, every bit of cat burglar craft is perfect. His Berlin is as gritty as brick dust, populated by wraiths on the make in baggy clothes from years of starvation rations and vitamin deficiencies. Everyone does what they have to in order to survive and morality is a very situational concept indeed. As the years advance, some of the characters become wiser with their experience, some merely older but Berlin survives, rebuilding but unchanging. . . . Absolute dynamite in a trench coat with cigarettes, coffee and nylons stuffed in the pockets. Don’t miss this one!” —W.J.H. Reed, I Love A Mystery


It was the summer we went to the moon. The hottest, the sweatiest, the longest—the most American. 1969. The American year in the American century—whitey on the moon, our boy from Wapakoneta uttering the most rehearsed one-liner since Henry Morton Stanley trekked thousands of miles across Africa with “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” bursting on his lips with every step. A small step for man and blahdey blah de blah. Before that, before the Summer-we-went-to-the-Moon, it was the Spring-we-went-to-Brooklyn.

I rode the subway out to Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights, and gave myself enough time to walk down to the promenade and catch the last of the sun going down over Manhattan. I have often thought that’s the best reason to live in Brooklyn. You can see Manhattan. You can stare at Manhattan. You can ogle Manhattan, rising up on that narrow strip of land like a castle with a hundred turrets, and never get enough of it. First time I saw it I thought of the Disney logo, Tinker Bell buzzing the towers of a fantasy castle.