Proving Ground (Lourdes Robles, #1)
Nathaniel Dresden never really got along with his father, an infamous civil rights lawyer who defended criminals and spearheaded protest movements. As an act of rebellion, Natty joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq, coming back with a chest full of commendations and a head full of disturbing memories.But when his father is found murdered near the peaceful confines of Brooklyn's Prospect Park, Natty is forced to deal with the troubled legacy of their unresolved relationship. He also has to fend off the growing suspicions of NYPD Detective Lourdes Robles, a brash Latina cop with something to prove, who thinks Natty might bear some responsibility for his father's death. Though truth be told, the list of people--cops and criminals--who wanted David Dresden out of the way is long. The search for answers leads Natty and Lourdes into an urban labyrinth where they must confront each other--and the brutal truths that could destroy them both.Proving Ground, New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner Peter Blauner's first novel in more than a decade, is a sweeping crime novel, an intricate story about the quest for redemption, and a vibrant portrait of contemporary New York City, all told in Blauner's singular voice.

Proving Ground (Lourdes Robles, #1) Details

TitleProving Ground (Lourdes Robles, #1)
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 2nd, 2017
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN1250117445
ISBN-139781250117441
Number of pages357 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller

Proving Ground (Lourdes Robles, #1) Review

  • Nancy McFarlane
    February 22, 2017
    Two people have something to prove. Lourdes Robles is a homicide detective just off of probation who must prove she deserves to be back on the job. And, Nathaniel Dresden is a prosecuting attorney who has yet to get over what he did and saw in Iraq and who needs to prove to himself that he is capable of living a life he can be proud of. When his father, a defense attorney who always championed the underdog and disadvantaged, and who was always fighting the establishment is murdered. Natty comes Two people have something to prove. Lourdes Robles is a homicide detective just off of probation who must prove she deserves to be back on the job. And, Nathaniel Dresden is a prosecuting attorney who has yet to get over what he did and saw in Iraq and who needs to prove to himself that he is capable of living a life he can be proud of. When his father, a defense attorney who always championed the underdog and disadvantaged, and who was always fighting the establishment is murdered. Natty comes home to be with his mother and try and forgive himself for never really getting along with or understanding his father. What follows is a suspenseful, action-packed, and at times, dark story. A story of love and hate and betrayal that you won’t want to put down.
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  • Patricia
    May 19, 2017
    PROVING GROUND is a fantastic read! Nathaniel survived the war in Iraq but is left with mental issues. When his father, a civil rights attorney, is murdered, Nathaniel returns to New York. Nathaniel, who has had father issues since childhood, is told that his dad was in the middle of suing the FBI. Trying to discover who murderer is, a dirty law enforcer or a criminal, Nathaniel makes many shocking discoveries. There is a surprising twist at the end. I highly recommend this novel. I can't wait f PROVING GROUND is a fantastic read! Nathaniel survived the war in Iraq but is left with mental issues. When his father, a civil rights attorney, is murdered, Nathaniel returns to New York. Nathaniel, who has had father issues since childhood, is told that his dad was in the middle of suing the FBI. Trying to discover who murderer is, a dirty law enforcer or a criminal, Nathaniel makes many shocking discoveries. There is a surprising twist at the end. I highly recommend this novel. I can't wait for the next one!
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  • Tim
    April 4, 2017
    I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and reviewPROVING GROUND by Peter Blauner, author of Casino Moon, and several other books, begins with Nathaniel Dresden aka “Natty Dread” a soldier in Iraq who is skilled in interrogation. Natty is the son of a well known defense attorney named David Dresden, and was given his nickname by his father David, a Bob Marley fan and a liberal in every sense of the word.Natty is on the team sent to locate Ahmar, the reported one respons I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and reviewPROVING GROUND by Peter Blauner, author of Casino Moon, and several other books, begins with Nathaniel Dresden aka “Natty Dread” a soldier in Iraq who is skilled in interrogation. Natty is the son of a well known defense attorney named David Dresden, and was given his nickname by his father David, a Bob Marley fan and a liberal in every sense of the word.Natty is on the team sent to locate Ahmar, the reported one responsible for the death of a man known to Natty as ‘Borat’, an informant with a resemblance to the character portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen in the comedy with the same name as the title, and is well like by the American soldiers. Borat has been recently beheaded in front of his family, and the soldiers are out for revenge which leads them to the home of an Iraqi family that a man has said much might be harboring Ahmar.Tragedy results from their raid on the family's home with Natty responsible for the outcome creating an unshakable image that affects him for the duration of the book.Later, the story picks up with Natty in jail after putting a probationary fire fighter in NYC in the hospital after a bar brawl the previous night, and we learn Natty was drunk and violent in the wake of his father’s murder.Natty stays with his mother while going through court ordered therapy for PTSD to avoid jail time, and we learn that Natty has been a prosecutor in Florida before coming back home following his father’s death.David, Natty’s father had been involved in the high-profile case known as ‘The Mailman Case’ involving the FBI along with David's partner Ben who has in the past been a mentor to Natty.Lourdes Robles, a young female detective assigned to her first case since disciplinary action for her previous partner’s behavior, is assigned to the case along with a long-time veteran named Sullivan.Natty finds himself a suspect in his own father's murder, which only adds to his already heavy load he's been dealing with as he tries to adapt to civilian life while battling PTSD that comes with suicidal thoughts, and flashbacks to his time in Iraq.Peter Blauner has written a very good full length novel about a subject that has probably been overdone recently by other authors and screenwriters, yet has done so in a way that makes it not seem clichéd and builds interest as the book progresses detailing Natty’s past and filling in holes that explain the relationship between him and his mother, father, and Ben.I'd recommend this book to anyone pulling for someone coming from a difficult situation wanting to come to grips with it and move on, as well as anyone who has an interest in the struggles of a veteran returning to civilian life back home, and this book was even more touching to read over the recent holiday where we honor those who have served, and those who have given their lives for country.
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  • Ben
    May 18, 2017
    Nathaniel Dresden, former Lt. Dresden, USA, the protagonist of "Proving Ground" was the son of two New York liberal social justice warriors, steeped on 1960's activism. His father was a lawyer who defended society's poor, criminals and later, accused terrorists; the mother was a writer and ploemicist for left-wing journals. Obviously they were quite surprised and disappointed when Natty joined ROTC in college and joined the Army to fight in Iraq.As the book opened, Natty had returned to civilian Nathaniel Dresden, former Lt. Dresden, USA, the protagonist of "Proving Ground" was the son of two New York liberal social justice warriors, steeped on 1960's activism. His father was a lawyer who defended society's poor, criminals and later, accused terrorists; the mother was a writer and ploemicist for left-wing journals. Obviously they were quite surprised and disappointed when Natty joined ROTC in college and joined the Army to fight in Iraq.As the book opened, Natty had returned to civilian life and a career as a prosecuting attorney, another slap in the face to his parents. To say they were mildly estranged might be a hopeful description of the family. Moreover, Natty suffering from PTSD, brought on after a raid/ search for a terrorist leader lead to Natty shooting a nd killing a child, and also seeing a good friend horribly wounded, had been drinking heavily and involved in a road-rage fight with a driver who came close to hitting his girlfriend's car.But now he is back in NY because his father has been murdered."Proving Ground" was the story of the investigation into to murder. It was also about the Dresden family, it's unspoken love , smothered resentments and hidden stresses. The senior Dresden's involvement with accused terrorists ybrought him to the attention of the FBI. His success at at getting drug dealers off in court put him in the NYPD's least favored list.About half of the novel is about Natty's striving to get his life back under control. He was portrayed as a man very close to the edge of violence, to himself and others. But even as he went to court-mandated therapy, Natty continued to investigate his father's muder. As he did, he found out a great deal about his father that he never knew.The book is subtitled, " Laourdes Robles #1" . She is a NYPD Dectective. She did play a role in the investigation and her character was different and interesting, but it was Natty who took center stage. We learned about her troubled family history as the story unfolded. The two characters, Natty and Lourdes interact rather minimally for a named -in -the -title character, I thought.Mr. Blauner had a good ear for cop-speak Asa well as for the different dialects and lives of NY neighborhoods. Without dropping spoilers, the big revelation that capped the book was not a total surprise to a reader who paid attention tho the author's hints. Mr. Blauner plYed fairly with his readers: the clues were there for all to see.Recommendation: a good mystery thriller and a very good evocation of how family dynamics are much the same in every family. What is the Tolstoy quote: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in ins own way." True that.No sexual scenes. Some violence, most offstage.
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  • Bea
    May 22, 2017
    Thank you to NetGalley, Minotaur Books and the author for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I'm not exactly sure what I think about this book. I read through to the end despite thinking of stopping a few times along the way. The main reason I was having trouble was that for me the book was very slow moving.Nate is obviously a flawed character suffering from PTSD and its related anger, depression, etc. I honestly get tired of books that deliver so much angst without f Thank you to NetGalley, Minotaur Books and the author for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I'm not exactly sure what I think about this book. I read through to the end despite thinking of stopping a few times along the way. The main reason I was having trouble was that for me the book was very slow moving.Nate is obviously a flawed character suffering from PTSD and its related anger, depression, etc. I honestly get tired of books that deliver so much angst without fixing some of it. The characters seem whiny and lost and quite frankly annoying. Nate finally goes to therapy, he starts working, has a few arrests etc. He tries to make peace with it all, and yet he continues to spiral downward. I'm sure that's a reality for many with PTSD but I don't need the reminder.Yes, Nate has been through a lot and done some awful things, and I do understand that returning "home" is not easy. As a Vietnam era veteran I've seen first hand what happens when veterans return home. Perhaps that's what angers me? Vietnam veterans were shunned and had no welcome home! They suffered in silence and very little support along the way. It's no wonder they didn't (and some still don't) trust the government who sent them into that jungle! Todays veterans are more likely to have many support services and are greeted as heroes. Nate had multiple opportunities to grasp for treatment. Perhaps I'm biased in general which bleeds over into my negative reaction to this particular book.The writing style didn't help as I found it boggy and repetitive. As I said, I almost quit reading but I made it through. Is the book memorable? Not to me. Actually I really hope it isn't as I've spent too much time on it already and I'm looking forward to moving on to the next one.
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  • Bob
    May 13, 2017
    Blauner Returns With A Bang!It's been about eleven years since Peter Blauner's last book, at which time he had been one of my "must read" authors. With his new book, Proving Ground, Blauner returns to not only being one of my "must reads," he returns to being one of my most favorite thriller/mystery writers. Thus, it seems almost needless to say that Proving Ground is a book I'd highly recommend.Consistent with each of Blauner's previous six very good-to-excellent crime novels, Proving Ground is Blauner Returns With A Bang!It's been about eleven years since Peter Blauner's last book, at which time he had been one of my "must read" authors. With his new book, Proving Ground, Blauner returns to not only being one of my "must reads," he returns to being one of my most favorite thriller/mystery writers. Thus, it seems almost needless to say that Proving Ground is a book I'd highly recommend.Consistent with each of Blauner's previous six very good-to-excellent crime novels, Proving Ground is another book that rises to the top of its genre due to:... its emotionally-charged and intricate plot,... its very rich, multi-dimensional, credible and complex cast of primary and secondary characters (in particular, Natty Dread and Lourdes Robles),...its smart dialogue,...its strong prose that enables the reader to capture the "mood, sights, sounds and smells" of NYC, and particularly areas of Brooklyn, and...its ability to provide sufficiently realistic twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next.For these reasons, Blauner's writing in Proving Ground reminds me of Richard Price's crime-based novels (e.g., Clockers, Lush Life, Freedomland) in that its driving force is the richness of its complex characters moreso than on an abundance of action scenes. Do yourself a favor and add Proving Ground to your reading list; and while you're at it, pick up one or more copies of Blauner's other books -- Slipping Into Darkness, The Last Good Day, Man Of The Hour, The Intruder, Casino Moon and Slow Motion Riot.
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  • Robert Intriago
    May 19, 2017
    I see a movie or a TV show, based on this book, or series in the future. I picked up this book as a result of a Washington Post review and the fact that the author was an Edgar award winner. I was not disappointed as I truly enjoyed reading. The characters appeared real and captivating and the plot was tightly woven. Let’s start by saying the main trunk of the story is a police procedural involving the main character Lourdes, and her partner Sullivan, an old hand at murder investigation. The bra I see a movie or a TV show, based on this book, or series in the future. I picked up this book as a result of a Washington Post review and the fact that the author was an Edgar award winner. I was not disappointed as I truly enjoyed reading. The characters appeared real and captivating and the plot was tightly woven. Let’s start by saying the main trunk of the story is a police procedural involving the main character Lourdes, and her partner Sullivan, an old hand at murder investigation. The branches of the tree involve an array of characters from an Iraq war veteran with PTSD to drug dealers, an FBI conspiracy, murder, a civil liberties attorney, a child of the sixties, etc., etc. The plot is linear with some flashbacks to the incidents in the Iraq war but they are appropriate to the story and do not interfere with the even flow of the plot. The authors description of how people dress based on their profession is quite good and accurate. Evidence of this is a bar scene in the second half of the book in which he gives a detailed description of the gear worn by different people. The only drawback I had with the book was the fact that some of the dialogue gets confusing as to who is talking
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  • Cynthia
    May 7, 2017
    Proving Ground is the first book I've read from this author and I enjoyed it. Natty Dread aka Nathaniel Dresden is a returning Iraq vet whose trying to sort through his traumatic war experiences as well as his unconventional childhood as the son of a proselytizing defense lawyer and a flower child mother.When he reluctantly moves back home living with his mother and joinin his dad's law firm chaos ensues though Blauner makes th complex action believable as well as clear. The chapters alternate i Proving Ground is the first book I've read from this author and I enjoyed it. Natty Dread aka Nathaniel Dresden is a returning Iraq vet whose trying to sort through his traumatic war experiences as well as his unconventional childhood as the son of a proselytizing defense lawyer and a flower child mother.When he reluctantly moves back home living with his mother and joinin his dad's law firm chaos ensues though Blauner makes th complex action believable as well as clear. The chapters alternate in perspective between Natty and a young policewoman named Lourdes Robles whose dealing with her own family of Origen complexities. I especially liked Lourdes's chapters because she is one of the few wholly likable character in the book with her fellow policewoman aunt Soledad and her aging beat partner and mentor Sullivan.This is the first book in Blauner's Lourdes series but hopefully there will be any more to follow. The ending is satisfying with some unexpected twists.Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance readers copy.
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  • Carol
    May 31, 2017
    Let me say at the outset that I LOVE this author. Blauner's writing is a literary feast and absolutely no one writes similes better than he does. I loved the Intruder and Last Good Day, but this one, I'm sorry to say, left me struggling. I found it extraordinarily slow and a bit confusing in places. It plodded along ponderously, and I really had to force myself to finish it. It was the quality of his writing though and those hilarious similes that helped lessen the onerous task of finishing a bo Let me say at the outset that I LOVE this author. Blauner's writing is a literary feast and absolutely no one writes similes better than he does. I loved the Intruder and Last Good Day, but this one, I'm sorry to say, left me struggling. I found it extraordinarily slow and a bit confusing in places. It plodded along ponderously, and I really had to force myself to finish it. It was the quality of his writing though and those hilarious similes that helped lessen the onerous task of finishing a book that was not the least bit compelling. The story centered on Natty, a damaged ex-soldier with PTSD. As Natty battles his daily demons, he learns his lawyer father has been betrayed and murdered, and Natty begins to investigate and solve the mystery, learning along the way that all is not as it seems. I will say that Blauner does develop his characters quite well but nevertheless this, in my opinion, is not one of his best.
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  • Meryan
    May 21, 2017
    I won this book from Goodreads. Very good book, about Natty (Nathaniel) Dresden. His father is a civil rights lawyer, and his parents are both activists. Natty hated it when he was old enough to know his father defended murders. As an act of rebellion Natty joins the Army and does several tours in Afghanistan. After Natty comes home his father is murdered right before a trial is set for Natty's father to sue the Government for a civil rights offence against a man named Ibrahim, who was sent over I won this book from Goodreads. Very good book, about Natty (Nathaniel) Dresden. His father is a civil rights lawyer, and his parents are both activists. Natty hated it when he was old enough to know his father defended murders. As an act of rebellion Natty joins the Army and does several tours in Afghanistan. After Natty comes home his father is murdered right before a trial is set for Natty's father to sue the Government for a civil rights offence against a man named Ibrahim, who was sent overseas to be tortured. His fathers' best friend and partner, Ben Grimaldi takes over the case and wants Natty to help. Before long some strange things happen and he doesn't know whether to trust Ben or the feds who have been talking to him.
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  • Delany
    June 1, 2017
    This author is new to me; I ran across the book in the library, and I'm glad I picked it up. Very enjoyable detective/police novel. Loved the fact that one of the major characters is a smart, interesting, non-white female cop -- and her sister, a supporting character who is gay, is also a cop. Blauner does as good a job developing and writing about the female characters as he does with the male characters. The story itself kept my interest -- not really riveting, but good. Looks as if, from what This author is new to me; I ran across the book in the library, and I'm glad I picked it up. Very enjoyable detective/police novel. Loved the fact that one of the major characters is a smart, interesting, non-white female cop -- and her sister, a supporting character who is gay, is also a cop. Blauner does as good a job developing and writing about the female characters as he does with the male characters. The story itself kept my interest -- not really riveting, but good. Looks as if, from what I see here in Goodreads, the writer is planning a series featuring the Lourdes Roble. I hope that comes to pass.
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  • Viva
    May 4, 2017
    2 stars = it was ok.I thought development of the story and action was slow, a lot writing without a lot of movement, or a lot of words to say a little. I also thought the author didn't do a good job of developing the characters, a lot was written but the characters just didn't reach out to me. Some authors do a great job of making the characters come alive, these didn't. I have no problem with the plot of the book, I just felt the author didn't bring it alive for me. In the end, I just felt the 2 stars = it was ok.I thought development of the story and action was slow, a lot writing without a lot of movement, or a lot of words to say a little. I also thought the author didn't do a good job of developing the characters, a lot was written but the characters just didn't reach out to me. Some authors do a great job of making the characters come alive, these didn't. I have no problem with the plot of the book, I just felt the author didn't bring it alive for me. In the end, I just felt the book was ok. I got this book as a free ARC.
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  • Francisco
    May 29, 2017
    I read Blauner's first book , Slow Motion Riot, years ago and it remains one of my favorite books. He has written intermittently over the years, each book a winner. Proving Ground is his first book in a while and he continues his winning streak. Simply outstanding: excellent character development and a exciting/believable plot!Blauner does inner city cops, lawyers, and the criminal milieu as good as anyone...and I mean anyone. This book is a well written , gritty crime novel and more. Recommende I read Blauner's first book , Slow Motion Riot, years ago and it remains one of my favorite books. He has written intermittently over the years, each book a winner. Proving Ground is his first book in a while and he continues his winning streak. Simply outstanding: excellent character development and a exciting/believable plot!Blauner does inner city cops, lawyers, and the criminal milieu as good as anyone...and I mean anyone. This book is a well written , gritty crime novel and more. Recommended.
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  • Andrew
    May 12, 2017
    Blauner Is Back. I read Blauner's first book , Slow Motion Riot, years ago and it remains one of my favorite books. He has written intermittently over the years, each book a winner. Proving Ground is his first book in a while and he continues his winning streak. Blauner does inner city cops, lawyers, and the criminal milieu as good as anyone...and I mean anyone. This book is a well written , gritty crime novel and more. Recommended.
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  • Madelynn
    May 29, 2017
    4.5
  • Michael
    April 14, 2017
    My review for this book was originally published by Library Journal:In the latest from Edgar Award winner (Slow Motion Riot) and TV producer (Blue Bloods) Blauner, an Iraq war veteran returns home to New York following the murder of his father, an activist attorney who was suing the FBI for the “enhanced interrogation” of his Muslim client. Nathaniel Dresden, armed with a law degree and barely suppressed postwar rage, turns to his father’s law partner Ben Grimaldi for a chance to work on the cas My review for this book was originally published by Library Journal:In the latest from Edgar Award winner (Slow Motion Riot) and TV producer (Blue Bloods) Blauner, an Iraq war veteran returns home to New York following the murder of his father, an activist attorney who was suing the FBI for the “enhanced interrogation” of his Muslim client. Nathaniel Dresden, armed with a law degree and barely suppressed postwar rage, turns to his father’s law partner Ben Grimaldi for a chance to work on the case. His efforts catch the attention of Brooklyn detective Lourdes Robles, in need of redemption after a public embarrassment that nearly ended her career, and her inscrutable partner Kevin Sullivan. As Natty’s personal investigation begins to expose secrets such as old flames and killed witnesses, all of Natty’s loyalties—to himself, to Ben, even to his father—will be challenged. Blauner writes with depth but with urgency, especially in the revelatory final chapters, and his characters are vividly drawn. VERDICT As complex and as gritty as a Richard Price book, Blauner’s first novel in more than ten years was worth the wait.Copyright ©2017 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
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