The Last Refuge

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Available in Canada for the first time – a compelling debut from a fresh new voice in crime fiction.

Sam Acquillo’s at the end of the line. A middle-aged corporate dropout living in his dead parents’ ramshackle cottage in the Hamptons, Sam has abandoned his friends, family and a big-time career to sit on his porch, drink vodka and stare at the Little Peconic Bay. But when the old lady next door ends up floating dead in her bathtub it seems like Sam is the only one who wonders why. Burned-out, busted up and cynical, the ex-engineer, ex-professional boxer, ex-loving father and husband finds himself uncovering secrets no one could have imagined, least of all Sam himself. Meanwhile, a procession of quirky characters intrudes on Sam’s misanthropic ways. A beautiful banker, pot-smoking lawyer, bug-eyed fisherman and gay billionaire join a full complement of cops, thugs and local luminaries in this tale of money and murder.


My father built this cottage at the tip of Oak Point on the Little Peconic Bay in the Town of Southampton, Long Island, in the mid-1940s when there was nobody else around to build anything. They were all still at war, most of the young guys anyway, and the older guys were either too poor or too scared of the future...
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“The spare, emotionally eloquent style of Chris Knopf’s first novel, The Last Refuge, gives shapely form to the confessional story narrated by Sam Acquillo . . . 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.”
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 (starred review)

“Take one hard-boiled burnout, add an eastern Long Island setting and a cynical sense of humour, throw in a sweetheart of a dog and you’ve got The Last Refuge. But there’s plenty more to this excellent debut novel.”
Rocky Mountain News

“Knopf has a wonderfully light and deft touch with the English language (dialogue is a strong suit) and uses it to good effect in telling this most pleasing story.”
Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine