Monument Road by Michael Wiley

Monument Road

Introducing former death-row inmate turned private investigator Franky Dast in the first of an intriguing new crime noir series. Having spent eight years on death row for a crime he didn't commit, Franky Dast now works as an investigator for the Justice Now Initiative, seeking to help others in the same situation. But when he learns that Bill Higby, the detective whose te...

Title:Monument Road
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Edition Language:English

Monument Road Reviews

  • Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House for an advance copy of Monument Road, the first novel to feature Franky Dast, a man recently released from prison after being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for murder.

    On his release Franky gets a job with the lawyers who freed him. It's not much of a job and he's not much of an investigator as he's constantly worrying at his own case, trying to work out what really happened and why he was framed by detective Bill Higby. In the meanti

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House for an advance copy of Monument Road, the first novel to feature Franky Dast, a man recently released from prison after being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for murder.

    On his release Franky gets a job with the lawyers who freed him. It's not much of a job and he's not much of an investigator as he's constantly worrying at his own case, trying to work out what really happened and why he was framed by detective Bill Higby. In the meantime the state of Florida is counting down to Thomas LaFlora's execution and the team aren't getting far.

    I enjoyed Monument Road. It has a good plot and some unexpected twists and turns which kept me reading and held my attention throughout. In one sense you could say that there isn't much new in the plot - man fights injustice and corruption - but Mr Wiley makes it seem very fresh with his unusual protagonist, his approach and the way it all comes together. It makes for an interesting read.

    I can't say I took to Frankie Dast but it's early days in his character development. He is constantly angry and violent which cause him to act before he thinks. This is probably to be expected after spending his youth firstly on death row and then the violent offenders wing but it doesn't make him an appealing character. I do, however, think that he is very well drawn. I was surprised that he's so impulsive when much is made early on in the novel of his intelligence as I had just assumed that he would have had played a longer game. Surprise is good as it keeps the reader engaged.

    Monument Road is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  • Tim

    MONUMENT ROAD by Michael Wiley is a novel about Franke Dast, a man recently released from prison, yet he is harassed by a homicide detective Bill Higby who remains convinced of Frankie’s guilt even with evidence of his innocence. Frankie also faces others in the community who still view him as a convict, making his reintroduction to society difficult along with the damage done as a result of his wrongful incar

    MONUMENT ROAD by Michael Wiley is a novel about Franke Dast, a man recently released from prison, yet he is harassed by a homicide detective Bill Higby who remains convinced of Frankie’s guilt even with evidence of his innocence. Frankie also faces others in the community who still view him as a convict, making his reintroduction to society difficult along with the damage done as a result of his wrongful incarceration.

    Frankie sets out to solve the mystery of the death of the Bronson boys, a difficult endeavor since most of the people he questions still are viewing him as the man responsible for the murders.

    I found this to be a good first novel that might be the first book in an upcoming series, and it will be interesting to see his development as an investigator in future novels.

    4 stars.

  • Angie Parish

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley. It in no way changed or pressured my honest opinion of it.

    I really enjoyed this book. I have gotten into mysteries more than ever lately, and this book hit the spot. I flew through it, and was left wanting more. It had me hooked from page 1. While it can be read as a stand alone, it is part of a series. I do wish I was aware of this before I started, for my own satisfaction,but still was happy with the results.

  • Annette

    Franky Dast has just been released from prison,having been cleared of murdering two boys 8 years earlier although there are some who still believe he did it and that he should have been executed as his sentence required- unfortunately one of these is the detective who arrested him.

    Despite coming from a poor family, Franky is bright and has spent his years in prison and Death Row trying to clear himself and prove his innocence. Once out he works for the Justice Now Initiative lawyers trying to he

    Franky Dast has just been released from prison,having been cleared of murdering two boys 8 years earlier although there are some who still believe he did it and that he should have been executed as his sentence required- unfortunately one of these is the detective who arrested him.

    Despite coming from a poor family, Franky is bright and has spent his years in prison and Death Row trying to clear himself and prove his innocence. Once out he works for the Justice Now Initiative lawyers trying to help others who are in the same situation. Then he learns that the detective who falsely accused him has shot his neighbour's son and been arrested. Whilst looking into this case of this man whom he hates he starts to learn things about what happened 8 years ago and realises he must confront his own past before he can really move on with his life.

    This is a slow burner but once I got into the book I found this a compelling read. Told in the first peson by Franky the novel offers a chilling insight into what can happen to somebody who is wrongly accused of a crime, particulary in the US where they still have the death penalty. There is no going back once someone has been executed, Fortunately Franky escapes this fate but others are not so lucky.

    The characters are very well described, particularly Franky and Cynthia, his girlfriend, who is also damaged in some ways but so good at helping Franky work out what he needs to do.

    I believe this is the first in a series and I will definitely be looking out for the next book when it is published.

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.

  • Lee

    Having spent eight years on death row for a crime he didn't commit, Franky Dast now works as an investigator for the Justice Now Initiative, seeking to help others in the same situation. But when he learns that Bill Higby, the detective whose testimony helped convict him, is facing his own murder charge, Franky is torn. Should he help the man he hates more than any other, the man who remains convinced of Franky's guilt to this day?

    I really enjoyed this book straight from the beginning. It took a

    Having spent eight years on death row for a crime he didn't commit, Franky Dast now works as an investigator for the Justice Now Initiative, seeking to help others in the same situation. But when he learns that Bill Higby, the detective whose testimony helped convict him, is facing his own murder charge, Franky is torn. Should he help the man he hates more than any other, the man who remains convinced of Franky's guilt to this day?

    I really enjoyed this book straight from the beginning. It took a while initially to warm to the character of Frankie Dash who in the beginning I did not like but as the book moved forward his brash personality grew on me ad really suits the story and makes the book a success. I would highly recommend this and will look out for more from this author. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the chance to read this story in exchange for an honest review.

  • Paromjit

    This is dark and enthralling Crime Noir set in Florida. 18 year old Franky Dast does a good deed, helping teenagers Duane and Steven on a dark night by taking them to a petrol station on Monument Road. The two brothers are gruesomely murdered and raped after he drops them off. In a horrific miscarriage of justice, Franky is convicted of their killing, serving 8 years on Death Row when thanks largely to his own efforts and the Justice Now Initiative, his conviction is overturned. Michael Wiley gi

    This is dark and enthralling Crime Noir set in Florida. 18 year old Franky Dast does a good deed, helping teenagers Duane and Steven on a dark night by taking them to a petrol station on Monument Road. The two brothers are gruesomely murdered and raped after he drops them off. In a horrific miscarriage of justice, Franky is convicted of their killing, serving 8 years on Death Row when thanks largely to his own efforts and the Justice Now Initiative, his conviction is overturned. Michael Wiley gives us one of the most interesting, complex and mesmerising protagonists that I have come across in some time. Whilst Franky is physically free, he is to all intents imprisoned in every other sphere, experiencing serious mental health issues that make him volatile, vulnerable and lost, facing fundamental issues surrounding his identity. He has no family to fall back on, his drunken father is dead and his relationship with his brother, Jared, is fraught offering little support. The cop who forced a false confession from him, Detective Bill Higby, remains convinced he is a murderer and harasses Franky continuously on his release, and he is not alone.

    To pay his rent at the motel he is staying at and buy food, Franky works as a low paid investigator at the Justice Now Initiative, with Jane, Hank and Thelma, looking into freeing innocent men on Death Row. He brings his experience, his street smarts, and his ability to use the computer to look into people, organisations and issues. However, he is plagued by his emotional and mental scars. He is a mix of tough, critical to survive in the deplorable prison system, and off the wall, in that he now crosses boundaries that disturb and unsettle others. He feels real lows that threaten any progress that he makes, although seeing Dr Patel, his psychiatrist, is of some help. After overcoming his initial insecurities, he ends up in a relationship with Cynthia, an outsider with her own issues. He finds himself in the odd position of investigating a shooting incident where Higby is arrested for killing the unarmed Josh Skooner. This case connects Franky back to the killings of Steven and Duane that he served time for. This spooks the killer to murder again. Franky walks the perilous road back into his past, helped by Detective Deborah Holt, and having to face a ruthless and dangerous serial killer.

    I understand this is the first of a series, and I really cannot wait for the next book. Michael Wiley has done impressive research on miscarriages of justice and the psychological states of those Death Row prisoners released, after serving years of torture in an unforgiving prison system. This research has informed the complicated creation and development of Franky Dast. I found myself feeling a range of emotions towards him, from rooting for him, afraid for him and even irritated with him. However, I was never less than compelled and gripped by him and it made sense that he connects with Cynthia, a woman who has her own demons. A unique and superb beginning to this series which I highly recommend. Thanks to Severn House for an ARC.

  • William

    I tried very hard to get into this book, but I find the prose to be flat and almost mechanical. The characters and plot are clichéd, and this is DNF for me.

    Thank you, NetGalley for providing this book to me.

  • Janebbooks

    Michael Wiley, UNF professor of 18th and early 19th century British literature, steps away from his place at the head of the classroom to bring his readers another tale set among the bridges, the landscape, the beauty of Northeast Florida again.

    Monument Road is titled after a major thoroughfare in the Arlington section of Jacksonville. Arlington is a bedroom community across the St. John's River from downtown Jacksonville, specifically right across from the Gator Bowl, now Everbank Field, home

    Michael Wiley, UNF professor of 18th and early 19th century British literature, steps away from his place at the head of the classroom to bring his readers another tale set among the bridges, the landscape, the beauty of Northeast Florida again.

    Monument Road is titled after a major thoroughfare in the Arlington section of Jacksonville. Arlington is a bedroom community across the St. John's River from downtown Jacksonville, specifically right across from the Gator Bowl, now Everbank Field, home of Jacksonville's NFL team the Jaguars. It's the eastern border of new Arlington, old Arlington and just Arlington. It's the place I called home for many years after moving here with two teenage daughters in 1971.

    I'm hoping for Franky Dast, Wiley's young protagonist, to be fruitful in his quest of clearing his name. I'm hopeful that Professor Wiley can re-construct the wonderful Arlington area we encountered in 1971...our beautiful now desolate Regency Square Mall where we lingered many times with our good friends... the lovely apartment complex at the foot of the Mathews Bridge that we crossed to see our new home so many years ago.

    Franky Dast returns home to Monument Road and Arlington to clear his name. I'm returning to an earlier home to friendly folks and beautiful familiar scenes.

  • Liz

    This book is described as a Florida Noir mystery and the description is apt. Wiley has captured the darkness of being poor and unjustly accused in Florida. He’s also captured the locale, which is so richly described it’s like another character. Franky Dast has just been released after serving 8 years on a murder and rape charge. Thanks to the Justice Now Initiative, DNA has proved him innocent. But PTSD still keeps him a prisoner of sorts. “I still wondered if I was even managing to save myself.

    This book is described as a Florida Noir mystery and the description is apt. Wiley has captured the darkness of being poor and unjustly accused in Florida. He’s also captured the locale, which is so richly described it’s like another character. Franky Dast has just been released after serving 8 years on a murder and rape charge. Thanks to the Justice Now Initiative, DNA has proved him innocent. But PTSD still keeps him a prisoner of sorts. “I still wondered if I was even managing to save myself. Or if I had a self to save.”

    Then when the detective that railroaded him is accused of a crime, Dast is anxious to see Digby get what he thinks of as “his due”. I struggled with Franky. He’s not an easy character to like. Luckily, another reviewer made a similar comment and recommended readers stick with it. I can’t say I even got to like Franky, but I was able to appreciate his motives.

    This isn’t a fast moving book. It moves at a steady pace, spending a lot of time setting up the story. In the end it was an interesting book but a tad too dark for me to truly enjoy.

    My thanks to netgalley and Severn House for an advance copy of this book.

  • Kath

    This is another new author for me and another one firmly added to my watch list. Set in Jacksonville, Florida we follow Franky Dast as he is released from jail having served 8 years for a crime he didn't commit and was convinced he was fitted up for; the who and the why very much in the forefront of his mind as he starts his new job as an investigator for Justice Now Initiative, an outfit that helps people such as himself who have been failed by the legal system. Top of his list is one Bill Higb

    This is another new author for me and another one firmly added to my watch list. Set in Jacksonville, Florida we follow Franky Dast as he is released from jail having served 8 years for a crime he didn't commit and was convinced he was fitted up for; the who and the why very much in the forefront of his mind as he starts his new job as an investigator for Justice Now Initiative, an outfit that helps people such as himself who have been failed by the legal system. Top of his list is one Bill Higby, the Detective who led his case and the cop that pretty much broke him. The man above all men that he hates the most. So, imagine what our Franky feels when he sees a news report telling him that Higby has been slapped with his own murder charges; that of the death of his neighbour's son. The son of the Judge that sentenced Franky. Is karma finally coming into play for Franky? Freed in body but not completely in his mind, Franky is intent on clearing his name and what better way to do that but to find out who really killed the two young lads that he went to jail for. But, oh my, what a pandora's box he opens when he starts to ask questions. What started off in his mind as just a miscarriage of justice turns out to run deeper and higher and longer than Franky ever envisaged. As time goes on and his investigations appear to be causing escalations in the crimes, can he get to the bottom of things before thinks go to far?

    Boy this was a cracking story. Quite hardboiled in tone with definite overtones of noir. We have secrets, lies, duplicitous behaviour, conspiracy theories and so much more as the crimes that Franky starts to uncover become more and more interconnected and interweaved both through their nature and the people involved; on both sides of the law. It was a story that held me nicely throughout, piquing my interest and keeping me guessing right til the end as slowly, each layer was exposed until the truth was laid bare.

    I took to Franky right from the off. Not that it was all positive; far from it. But, on balance, I was rooting for him for all the way, despite some rather irritating moments of, at best daftness, at worst sheer stupidity. It took a wee while but eventually the connection was made and he slowly started to become less irritating and more impressive with his guts and tenacity and strong sense of justice, despite all he had been through. But honestly, all you needed to do to get him to do something was tell him he couldn't; he was that much of a rebel! I'm also sure he'll become less angry and more open as time moves on in this series. I'll definitely be interested in seeing where the author takes him next time.

    My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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