Knopf moves in fast, doesn’t hold his narrative punches. In his delightfully terse and incremental style, Sam is off and running, with his fight training and smart mouth kicking in. In his mid-fifties now—and this is his fourth appearance in a Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery—Sam is as cynical, funny and decent as ever.
—Joan Baum, National Public Radio
An appealing hero and a colorful entourage that includes endearing Eddie, the anti-Marley dog, make for a lively and entertaining mix.
Sam and the gang meet with all sorts of bad people and situations, putting Sam in just the sort of danger that his doctor advised against (for someone nursing a head wound). Another clever caper in an underappreciated series starring a hard-boiled curmudgeon.
Chris Knopf’s Black Swan is another engrossing Sam Acquillo mystery. This spin on the classical “country house” mystery, is updated by the appearance of Subversive Technologies, a software giant on the verge of releasing a revolutionary program. As always, Sam’s interplay with his smart girlfriend is as enjoyable as Bogart’s and Bacall’s, and author Knopf is to be congratulated for resurrecting and updating a classic format.
—Mystery Scene Magazine
The book features two really fine set pieces, the initial storm at sea and a devastating hurricane, in which the reader can feel the sting of salt spray. A must for boat-loving crime fiction fans.
In lesser hands, this tale of the storms of life —– nature's and humanity's — might seem melodramatic, but Knopf's talent is such that "Black Swan
" is gripping, satisfying and ultimately moving.
The excellent supporting cast--Sam Acquillo, the star of the author's first four Hamptons mysteries; Jackie's boyfriend, Harry Goodlander; Southampton cop Joe Sullivan; computer guru Randall Dodge--provide valuable assistance when Jackie's efforts stir up threats. Domestic problems and Homeland Security issues enliven a plot with slick twists that should keep readers switching their bets to the very end.
– Publishers Weekly
But what clearly elevates this book – indeed, this series -- above so many of its peers is the character of Jackie Swaitkowski, one who is often "so tangled up in personal, ethical, and professional conflicts" yet manages to work it all out to everyone's satisfaction.
takes off smoothly, flies high, offers a first-class ride, and lands on the honors list of this year's mysteries.
If you haven’t already discovered this terrific series set in the Hamptons on the eastern tip of Long Island, there’s no better book to begin with than Short Squeeze. This is a great late-summer weekend book.
—The Globe and The Mail
Southampton attorney Jackie Swaitkowski, a supporting character in Knopf's Sam Acquillo series takes center stage in this series debut. Readers, fasten your seatbelts for a roller-coaster ride as Knopf's intelligent, savvy protagonist works her wiles solving whodunit and why.
– Library Journal, Starred Review
Knopf's well-layered plot is particularly laudable for the fact that, although its puzzle pieces become evident, fitting them together is challenging. Ms. Swaitkowski proves up to that challenge. She may do her best work under a smoky haze of sometimes questionable origin, but she's a breath of fresh air on the mystery-novel scene.
To put it bluntly, Knopf is a literary craftsman of the highest caliber. With Elysiana, moreover, he lets his imagination run wild and, in so doing, rivals even the Beach Boys at evoking the classic American summer of our collective dreams.
— Small Press Reviews
Knopf’s sweet-spirited style recalls memories spurred by faded home movies of long-ago vacations. Every “shoobie” on the beach who eschews MTV’s odious Jersey Shore should be reading Elysiana
— Booklist Starred Review
Elysiana is a fast-paced quick read and there is much to enjoy about this book and, in retrospect, I can’t seem to think of a single flaw. The characters are believable, the sex gratuitous, the drugs abundant, the villains skanky, and the heroes noncommittal, which in my humble estimation makes for one enjoyable read.–
– The Alternative
Smart dialogue and sharp social observations distinguish this stand-alone thriller from Knopf.
— Publishers Weekly
The Last Refuge
“The spare, emotionally eloquent style gives Chris Knopf’s first novel shapely form…the characters are such original oddballs and their conversation so bracing you want to kick off your shoes and spend some time on the porch with them, just taking in the view and enjoying the talk.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“Sam’s rediscovery of himself in middle age is the real focus in this accomplished debut novel, which also boasts outstanding dialogue and a vividly rendered setting. Expect to hear more from Knopf; he is definitely a writer to watch.”
—Booklist “Star” review
“There's a definite whiff of Elmore Leonard here, particularly in the snappy dialogue and the colorful, oddball characters. Knopf's effortless narrative style and sense of humor bode well for the further adventures of Sam Acquillo.”
Knopf has a touch I like — cool, careful, reflective — and a great ear for the comic eccentricities of the human voice. Maybe it comes from sitting out on a deck, listening to the gulls squawk.
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times, Recommended Summer Reading, 2006.
Strong plotting, solid characters and hard-boiled dialogue worthy of Elmore Leonard or John D. MacDonald will make this a beach read that you won't be able to put down even under threat of sunburn.
– Publishers Weekly, Starred review, Best 100 Books of 2006.
It is pure gold. Everything about it (characters, plotting, setting) is brilliant.
– Library Journal
Knopf has a real knack for creating interesting people and putting them through their paces.
For all his reputation as a tough guy, it's only when Sam sits down to chew the fat with bartenders, fishermen, teachers and other hard-working townies that we remember why it's such a pleasure to visit this seaside refuge the tourists never see."
─ Marilyn Stasio, New York Times
What makes the novel feel fresh is whip-smart, snappy dialogue and intriguing characters, particularly smart women who handily skirt cliché. Knopf is also a dab hand at describing settings and characters. He brings the working-class side of Southampton, where fishermen and mechanics hang out after work, vividly to the page. This is a hero squarely in the tradition of Travis McGee, fueled by plenty of machismo and colossal amounts of vodka and beer.
– Halle Ephron, Boston Globe
What I liked most about Head Wounds
is the intelligent writing, which entertained me on every page. Chris Knopf deserves a wide audience. This is one of those series published by a relatively small press that surpasses in quality a lot of what is being published by the big boys. Seek it out. You can't miss its striking cover. You'll thank me.
– George Easter, Deadly Pleasures
You’ve got to hand it to Chris Knopf: He knows how to have fun. His prose vaults across the page with happy confidence. Ice Cap, the third in Mr. Knopf’s series of Jackie Swaitkowski mysteries, satisfies many elements of the beach read — a little romance, a puzzling mystery, a fair amount of diverting comedy.
– The East Hampton Star
Atrocious winter weather, Franco’s aversion to telling all, and Tad’s deep secrets keep the outcome in doubt. Whether Jackie or Sam takes the lead, Knopf’s ensemble mysteries are good entertainment.
– Publishers Weekly
I laughed out loud numerous times as I read this book in one sitting. Knopf does an excellent job writing from the perspective of his female character and I’ll be checking out more of Jackie’s adventures. You shouldn’t miss this one.
– Linda Faulkner
Knopf reaches a new imaginative peak with market researcher Arthur Cathcart in this outstanding revenge novel.
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
An absorbing update of the classic film, D.O.A., that finds its author so completely in the zone that not a word is wasted, and the story seems to unfold itself without human assistance.
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
Knopf's tale is suspenseful from the get-go, with an intellectual, yet visceral, vigilantism coursing through the pages. In a major change in direction, the author of the "Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mysteries" never misses an angle.
—Library Journal, Starred Review
The novel generates enormous tension, and the mild-mannered number-cruncher is definitely an appealing hero.
—Booklist, Starred Review
WINNER 2013 NERO AWARD
Cries of the Lost
Fugitive Arthur only wants the truth about his late wife’s criminal pursuits. Crisscrossing Europe, he barely stays ahead of the bad guys in this witty, cleverly concocted sequel to the Nero Award–winning Dead Anyway.
– Library Journal, Starred Review
A high-spirited romp with more exotic locations than the last three James Bond films.
As a thriller, Cries of the Lost
is hugely enjoyable. The prose is a joy to read with hardly a word surplus to requirements as we hurtle through to another moment of calm reflection at the end. From my point of view, the next in the series can’t come quickly enough.
– David Marshall, Thinking About Books
Cries of the Lost
has slam-bang action, serious detection, and a couple of main characters that you're bound to root for. Highly entertaining reading.
– Bill Crider
A Billion Ways to Die
At the start of Knopf’s highly inventive third mystery featuring market researcher Arthur Cathcart, armed men seize Cathcart and girlfriend Natsumi Fitzgerald from their sailboat and threaten them with torture unless they reveal the location of a missing billion dollars. Throughout, Cathcart proves as nimble on his feet as he is quick witted.
This is the third in the series, after “Dead Anyway
” and “Cries of the Lost
.” It is thoroughly entertaining and every bit as good as the ones that preceded it and, like those, is highly recommended.
The two books I have read are fascinating entries, and the characters are involved in billion dollar intrigue and danger. The pace is fast, and writing smooth, keeping the reader turning the pages. Highly recommended.
As always with a Chris Knopf novel, the writing is sharp and precise, making Cop Job a worthy entry in this entertaining series.
— Associated Press
An enjoyable sixth Hamptons mystery... Sam and Jackie once again make a formidable team as he searches for answers and payback.
– Publisher's Weekly
Sam dives deeper than ever into the murky waters of past and present felonies. The fog gets so thick, in fact, that some readers will doubt Knopf can cut through it all. But he does, with a keen, deadly final stroke that makes this case one of Sam's best.
– Kirkus Reviews
This sixth entry in Knopf’s Hamptons Mystery series maintains the high standards of previous entries: smooth prose style, brisk dialogue, smart plotline, well-drawn characters, keen sense of place.
Early in Knopf’s nicely plotted seventh Sam Acquillo mystery, a stranger calls on the corporation man turned carpenter at his cottage on Long Island’s Little Peconic Bay, to inform him that Marcelo “Bonnie” Bonaventure, an old and ailing retired bartender, wants to talk to him about the beating death 40 years earlier of Sam’s father, André Acquillo, a demanding, ill-tempered, meticulous mechanic. Sam drives to the Bronx to visit Bonnie at an old folks’ home, where Bonnie tells Sam something disturbing about the police investigation into André’s murder. Sam decides to stick around the city to do some digging and consults Madelyn Wollencroft, a cold case detective. Sam must contend with his father’s ghost and his father’s surviving enemies. Sam’s backstory adds depth to an already strong character.
- Publisher's Weekly
The discovery of the body of wealthy Victor Bollings in his new Hamptons home propels Knopf’s exciting eighth outing for former corporate troubleshooter turned carpenter Sam Acquillo. The suspense builds as tiny ripples become waves and the fallout from a client’s death threatens to sink Sam and friends.
— Publisher's Weekly
Solving the murder of Victor Bollings is considered a slam dunk by Southampton Town Police, but not by Sam Acquillo. This eighth entry is a stellar addition to an assured series, with Acquillo more philosophical than ever as he senses his own mortality.
Tango Down is a stellar offering that balances the personal, the professional, and the political; hot-button issues make for page-turning suspense when rendered by such capable hands.
– John Valeri
At the start of this stellar standalone from Knopf (Tango Down and seven other Sam Acquillo mysteries), Dr. Waters, an organizational psychologist for ExciteAble Technologies comes home one night to find the bloody head of the company’s owner, Paresh Rajput, on a bedroom floor. Knopf plays fair as he matches well-developed characters with a crafty whodunit plot, one whose resolution few readers will anticipate.
Waters eventually unravels a convoluted plot involving unlikely participants, but the highlight here is the character. Waters, who was trained to overcome his autistic behavior by his older brother, is a weight lifter with a wrestling background whose personal experience and education give him a unique understanding of himself and others. Readers wanting to see Waters again will hope this outstanding thriller spawns a series.
Sam Acquillo has spent most of his time in the Hamptons hanging out with the other half of the moneyed wonderland – cops and bartenders, carpenters, store clerks and firemen. He could care less about the concerns of the 1%, until his best friend Burton Lewis, a certified billionaire, is dragged into a high-profile death investigation.
For some, there is no power without prestige, and no prestige that can’t be bought. They see no distinction between corporate profit and high-minded non-profits, charity being the currency of social preeminence.
In Deep Dive, Sam discovers just how right he is. The rich can achieve a level of depravity and hate both invisible, and incomprehensible, to the rest of us.
Tango Down, eighth in Knopf’s Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery Series, was released December, 2017. Back Lash was published in 2016, and received a starred review from Booklist. It followed Cop Job in 2015, about which Booklist said: “…maintains the high standards of previous entries: smooth prose style, brisk dialogue, smart plotline, well-drawn characters, keen sense of place. Another winner from a consistently strong author.“ Knopf’s first novel, The Last Refuge (2005) was a finalist for The Connecticut Book Award. In 2007, Two Time was one of thirteen mysteries listed in Marilyn Stasio’s "Recommended Summer Reading" column in The New York Times Book Review. Head Wounds was cited as one of the best mysteries of the year in 2008 by both Mysterious Reviews and Deadly Pleasures, and the 2008 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Mystery.
His thriller series featuring off-the-grid sleuth Arthur Cathcart began with Dead Anyway, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus and Library Journal. It was named one of The Best Crime Novels of 2012 by The Boston Globe and won the 2013 Nero Award. The sequels, Cries of the Lost and A Billion Ways To Die, were released in 2013 and 2014. Three Jackie Swaitkowski Hamptons Mysteries were published by Thomas Dunne/St. Martins – Short Squeeze, Bad Bird and Ice Cap.
Kill Switch, included in Rogue Wave: Best New England Crime Stories, was short-listed for the 2016 Derringer Award. Ugly will be in this year’s Best New England Crime Stories. A Little Cariñoso appeared in the April, 2017 edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Crossing Harry has been included in Akashic’s New Haven Noir, released August, 2017.