Calico

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Goldberg, comes an explosive, page-turning investigative thriller – with a mind-blowing twist.

There’s a saying in Barstow, California, a decaying city in the scorching Mojave desert . . .

The Interstate here only goes in one direction: Away.

But it’s the only place where ex-LAPD detective Beth McDade, after a staggering fall from grace, could get another badge – and a shot at redemption.

Over a century ago, and just a few miles further into the bleak landscape, a desperate stranger ended up in Calico, a struggling mining town, also hoping for a second chance.

His fate, all those years ago, is linked to Beth’s when she’s assigned two very different cases: investigating an old skeleton dug up in a shallow, sandy grave, and identifying a vagrant run-over by a distracted motorhome driver during a lightning storm.

Every disturbing clue she finds, every shocking discovery she makes, force Beth to confront not just her own troubled past, but also one that’s not her own . . . until it all smashes together in a revelation that could change the world.

Praise for Calico:

A Crime Fiction Lover Best Book of The Year  — “CALICO is unlike any other book I’ve ever reviewed for Crime Fiction Lover & it is that uniqueness which made it unhesitatingly my book of the year for 2023. Thank you, Lee Goldberg, for a book I will never forget!”

“Impeccably crafted entertaiment.” The Times (London)

“A superb twin-track thriller featuring constant intrigue and a huge secret – could be Lee Goldberg’s best ever.” Lee Child

“Expands the boundaries of the police procedural in rip-roaring way. If you have time for only one mystery, one Western, and one SF this year, this will ding all three targets.” Kirkus Reviews

“I guarantee you’ve never read a novel like it. The X Files meets Deadwood. Totally gripping.” Ian Rankin

“A genre-bending, gripping read.” Harlan Coben

“Goldberg interweaves two storylines into a remarkably unconventional crime novel that is warm, thrilling, and fun to read.” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

“This book is so inventive, so different, and so much fun. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” Linwood Barclay

“Lee Goldberg’s novel is a double-barreled blast, melding the tense, edge-of-your-seat contemporary police procedural with a gritty 1880s Wild West tale set in the dusty desert of Southern California. To go into detail would be to spoil the fun. It’s enough to say that for Western readers CALICO is a solid adventure and for crime/mystery fans it’s a cop story that is both conventional and wildly unconventional. Fans of both will find it a double delight. The mind-bending truth behind Motor Home Man’s death and Owen Slader’s disappearance and the clever twists and turns the intertwining stories take will leave readers’ minds reeling for days.” The Roundup, the magazine of the Western Writers of America.

“Lee Goldberg astonished and delighted me at every turn with his creativity in CALICO, an exceedingly clever mashup of police procedural and historical Western adventure, with a healthy dose of science fiction. I guarantee you’ve never read anything like it.” Christine Goff

“Goldberg has crafted is a page-turning novel that has surprises up to the final page. Calico is arguably one of his best.” FirstCLUE

“Lee Goldberg attempts something very tricky: combining a gritty Southern California police procedural and an epic Western historical saga. Does he succeed? The answer is a resounding yes, in splendid fashion. Calico is one of the most compelling novels I’ve read in a long time. Great characters, a vivid historical setting, and intriguing plot twists had me staying up late to finish it. Honestly, I wondered how Goldberg was going to be able to pull it all together and make it work, but he does so in a very satisfying way, right down to a final twist that’s a great sting in the tail. Goldberg always delivers the goods, and Calico is something special.” James Reasoner, Spur-Award finalist and author of more than 350 westerns, including 41 Longarm novels and 20 books in the Trailsman series.

Calico is an audacious thriller which probably should not work, but it does thanks to a bravura performance from author Goldberg and a straight-shooting, stand-up-gal heroine. Goldberg steers his plot with care, maintaining a perfect sense of intrigue and suspense throughout. There [is] a leavening of wry humour and some genuinely heart-warming touches, plus a great sting in the tail.” Shots Magazine

“A cleverly complex plot wreathed in Goldberg’s brilliant humour makes this a rocket-paced story. This novel, where wryly amusing moments abound, comes highly recommended.” Historical Novel Society (Editor’s Choice)

“Lee Goldberg delivers with the unapologetically savvy Beth McDade, a detective unafraid of following the dead bodies and the mystery surrounding them. Calico is a time warp that couples history with good old fashioned detective work.'” Yasmin Angoe, author of Her Name is Knight

“If you enjoy murder mysteries – complete with the obligatory detective tropes, investigative twists, whodunit suspense, and strong female lead – then you already know that few can do it better than Lee Goldberg. However, by combining all of those crime-fiction staples into an unconventional, widely different approach, Goldberg delivers something altogether new, radical and exciting for his readers. Calico is a very clever crime-fiction novel authored by an absolute pro. Highly recommended.”  Paperback Warror

“It’s like nothing you’ve ever read before. Your reading experience is never likely to be the same agiain. As the narrative deftly switches between present day and the 19th century Calico, we piece together the story of Owen and of Beth — and, rather than seeming far-fetched, it has an unerring sense of realism and an almost cinematic attention to detail. Calico is a unique read and a hugely entertaining one.” The Crime Fiction Lover Site (UK)

“An absolutely wonderful and surprising novel, suddenly crossing genres so shockingly yet so believably. The contrast between the Barstow police milieu of today and the Calico mining town of the 1880s is superbly drawn. The authenticity is overwhelming, the action moves quickly, and the mystery is thoroughly engrossing.” James Robert Daniels, author of The Comanche Kid, a Spur Award finalist for Best Western Novel.

“A genre-busting, mystery-thriller that defies easy classification. It’s entertaining and Goldberg has a lot of fun with it, creating a surprising and enjoyable adventure.” CrimeTime FM
 

“If you like the Yellowstone series and its spin-offs, you’ll love Calico!” Peter Brandvold, multple Spur Award nominee

Calico is stunningly original – a magical mixture of a murder mystery and an old-fashioned Western, set in the California desert. It’s also a heartwarming epic story of one family that spans the centuries. Read it today – you won’t soon forget it!” Matt Witten, author of Killer Story

“My favorite Lee Goldberg novel yet! Calico alternates between contemporary investigation, intriguing sciences, and fascinating history. Each aspect is told with a stellar sense of place, engaging characters, and the kind of real, yet snappy, dialogue readers have come to expect. Highly recommend!” Tori Eldridge, author of The Ninja Betrayed

“Lee Goldberg is a master of the mystery genre in books and television. He can do mystery-comedy, mystery-medical, thriller, procedural & now, a triple genre, a western-detective-metaphysical novel… [that he] brings to an explosive conclusion.” Ladies Fiction Salon

“Lee Goldberg’s delightful time-travel detective western is the funnest novel I’ve read since Peter Cline’s delightful time-travel detective western, Paradox Bound.” Book Post