Villanova, PA – Rancho Santa Elena in 1987 seems like the ideal Southern California paradise—that is, until a series of strange crimes threaten to unravel the town’s social fabric. After workers are attacked with mysterious weapons and a wealthy real estate developer is found dead in the pool of his beach house, detective Ben Wade and forensic expert Natasha Betencourt struggle to connect the incidents—ultimately unraveling a widespread White supremacist conspiracy.
That’s the premise of The Recruit (Random House, 2022) a new suspenseful thriller by Villanova University professor Alan Drew, MFA, who directs the University’s Creative Writing Program. The Recruit is his third novel, following his critically acclaimed Shadow Man (Random House, 2017) and Gardens of Water (Random House, 2008).
Calling The Recruit “a moving, grippingly relevant mystery,” in a starred review, Kirkus Reviews said “Drew’s sequel to Shadow Man (2017) could hardly speak more powerfully to the present moment in the United States. A terrific crime novel with an explosive climax, the book dares to find a level of empathy with its young perpetrators, connecting the dots between being frightened and ‘walking around in the dark’ and turning to hate.”
Publishers Weekly’s review noted, “Drew takes a nuanced approach in tackling the conflicts of gentrification. This socially complex police procedural, with its issues that remain all too relevant today, deserves a wide audience.”