Spin-off from Garth Carson Novels featuring Garth’s brother Nicholas
2007 Barry Award - Best Paperback Original
2007 Shamus Award - Best Paperback Original



"Brian Wiprud is either a genius or a lunatic. Or maybe both.”
—Steve Hamilton

Stolen art.
Broken hearts.
A case where even the good guys are...

Nicholas Palihnic is taxidermy collector Garth Carson’s black-sheep brother, a natty, tweed-suited hustler who knows every nook and cranny of New York—and a thousand ways to a break a girl’s heart. Beatrice Belarus is a Manhattan art dealer with an insatiable appetite for money—and for anyone who gets in her way. And a painting titled “Trampoline Nude, 1972” has neither nudity nor a trampoline. But when Nicholas is hired by an insurance company to find the recently stolen painting, and a murdered art thief leads him to a trove of gold buried beneath Manhattan, suddenly all roads are leading Nicholas back to Beatrice Belarus. As fortune hunters, lovers and other strangers gather around him, there’s one thing Nicholas must remember above all else: in this business, it’s better to be crooked than dead...


“Wiprud's engaging, hard-boiled style draws readers into both the art world and the underworld of New York, and his colorful cast keeps things moving with wit to spare — especially the plucky lead…the journey is a thrilling one, with an ending even the most astute readers won't see coming.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Wiprud writes with a flair for dialogue that is unique and thoroughly enjoyable. While comparisons to other authors is inevitable they are also unnecessary, Wiprud has a voice all his own and it’s one I look forward to hearing more of. This should be on everyone’s to buy list.”
— Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine

“What a delight of a book. I knew when I started the first page I would be in for a good read. Brian Wiprud's first book, Stuffed, was a winner and I looked forward to more of the same. I was not disappointed. Be prepared to laugh out loud. It's clever. Outrageous. Pure fun.”
— Mary Ann Smyth, BookLoons

“The author has succeeded in creating a sleazy character that I could not help but like.. If you love mysteries, humor, and those old black-and-white P.I. movies, this title is for you!”

— Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews

“A totally charming serio-comedic thriller that constantly has the audience off guard as one shocking surprise follows another.”
— Harriet Klausner, BookReview.com

“CROOKED is a funny, quirky mystery with just the tiniest bit of romance.”
— Jory Reedy, Fresh Fiction

“If you like comedy caper novels, then Wiprud’s CROOKED should hit the spot.”
— Ali Karim, Deadly Pleasures

“Wiprud's metaphors are like a bang to the funny bone, making this read a complete riot.”
— Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader

“CROOKED is a joyride through the crime world worthy of being discovered by all.”
— Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm

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