Metrowest may seem like an unlikely setting for a murder mystery, but not to Southborough resident and first-time novelist Steve Ulfelder. The plot of his new novel Purgatory Chasm, released just this week, plays out all across Metrowest.
Protagonist Conway Sax lives in “the grittier parts of downtown Framingham,” and his girlfriend in Shrewsbury. Sax, an ex-con and recovering alcoholic, is forced to investigate the murder of one of the members of his sobriety group, a murder for which he is the primary suspect.
Ulfelder says of his leading man, “Conway Sax isn’t a hired gun or a wise-cracking urbanite. He’s just a mechanic trying to make his way, a blue-collar guy whose ideas about family and loyalty are as deeply held as they are strong.”
Early praise for Ulfelder’s debut novel has been strong. It was featured as a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist gave the book “a thumbs up.” Ulfelder has already signed on for a second in the Conway Sax series.
Ulfelder has lived in Southborough since 1994. In addition to writing novels, he is an amateur race car driver and co-owner of Flatout Motorsports, a Bellingham company that builds and services race cars. (Is it any surprise, then, that he penned Sax as a former NASCAR driver with a brief but memorable career?) Ulfelder left a 20-year stint in tech journalism to launch his non-fiction career.
Ulfelder will read from Purgatory Chasm at Tatnuck Books (18 Lyman Street, Westborough) on Saturday at 1:00 pm. Be sure to check out this nice piece the Metrowest Daily News did on Ulfelder earlier this week.
(Image: Southborough author Steve Ulfelder, photo by Nancy Gould)