Ariel S. Winter
August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-85768-581-0
Cover art by Chuck Pyle, Ricky Mujica, Joe Avery

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“Bold, innovative, and thrilling—
The Twenty-Year Death crackles with suspense
and will keep you up late.”
—Stephen King


A breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.

The body found in the gutter in France led the police inspector to the dead man’s beautiful daughter—and to her hot-tempered American husband.

A hardboiled private eye hired to keep a movie studio’s leading lady happy uncovers the truth behind the brutal slaying of a Hollywood starlet.

A desperate man pursuing his last chance at redemption finds himself with blood on his hands and the police on his trail...

Three complete novels that, taken together, tell a single epic story, about an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. It is an ingenious and emotionally powerful debut performance from literary detective and former bookseller Ariel S. Winter, one that establishes this talented newcomer as a storyteller of the highest caliber.

  • First publication ever!
  • Contains three full-length novels—the longest book in Hard Case Crime history
  • Hollywood star Rose McGowan posed for the cover painting by Charles Pyle

"Not content with writing one first novel like ordinary mortals, Ariel Winter has written three—and in the style of some of the most famous crime writers of all time for good measure. It’s a virtuoso act of literary recreation that’s both astonishingly faithful and wildly, audaciously original. One hell of a debut."
James Frey

"The Twenty-Year Death is a bravura debut, ingenious and assured, and a fitting tribute to the trio of illustrious ghosts who are looking—with indulgence, surely—over Ariel Winter’s shoulder."
John Banville

"The Twenty-Year Death is an absolute astonishment. Ariel S. Winter manages to channel three iconic crime writers and pull off a riveting story of a two-decade ruination in which it is the things not said that somehow have the loudest echoes."
Peter Straub

"As an old-school fan of Georges Simenon, I read MALNIVEAU PRISON with awe and delight."
Alice Sebold on Book 1 of The Twenty-Year Death

"Expertly summoning the most sinuous strains of Chandler, THE FALLING STAR sinks you into its dark, sleek world."
Megan Abbott on Book 2 of The Twenty-Year Death

"If I didn't know better, I’d swear that Hard Case had unearthed a long-lost Jim Thompson novel. POLICE AT THE FUNERAL is one of those great, boozy, violent nightmares that (I used to think) only Thompson himself could conjure."
Duane Swierczynski on Book 3 of The Twenty-Year Death

"Pitch perfect. A tour de force of story, structure and style. This is why I read."
Brian Azzarello

"If ever there was a born writer, Mr. Winter is one…Mr. Winter’s work is sharp, smart, original, intensely interesting and ingenious."
Stephen Dixon

"A tour de force, or rather three different, ingeniously interwoven, tours de force. An exciting book that will make many commuters miss their stop."
Richard Vinen

"The Twenty-Year Death is an exceptionally ambitious, inventive crime novel that echoes three classic authors while extending the idea of what a crime novel can do. The scope and versatility are breathtaking. Bravo to Ariel S. Winter and Hard Case Crime."
David Morrell

"As distinguished a first novel in the noir fiction genre as any I know of. Indeed, it is three novels in one, and each is in its own way a tour de force. If this is the level of excellence that Winter can achieve at the very start of his career, then his future in this genre is unlimited."
John T. Irwin