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Heroes Often Fail [Paperback]

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Item description for Heroes Often Fail by Frank Zafiro...

Six-year-old Amy Dugger is snatched in broad daylight. River City's finest begin the desperate and arduous search for her kidnapper. Detective John Tower, Detective Ray Browning, Officer Stefan Kopriva, Officer Katie MacLeod--each holds a piece of the puzzle. Whoever can fit it all together will be Amy's--and all of River City's--hero. They must find Amy's kidnapper. Before it's too late.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.7" Width: 1.2" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2007
Publisher   Aisling Press
ISBN  1934677167  
ISBN13  9781934677162  

Availability  0 units.

More About Frank Zafiro

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Frank became a police officer in 1993 and retired in 2013 as a captain. He has written and taught courses at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy, written several college courses in police subject matter and co-authored A Street Officer's Guide to Report Writing. Many of his stories and novels take place in the fictional River City, a mid-sized city in Eastern Washington, with recurring characters. The River City series of crime novels begins with Under a Raging Moon. Frank has authored numerous books, including crime novels with Jim Wilsky (Blood on Blood, Queen of Diamonds) and Colin Conway (Some Degree of Murder). Over fifty of his short stories have been published in more than a dozen different anthologies, as well as print and online magazines. His story "Good Shepherd" was a finalist for the 2006 Derringer Award. In 2007, his story "The Worst Door" was a finalist for this same award. His story "Dead Even" was a finalist for the 2009 Derringer Award. These and other short stories are gathered together in three River City collections: Dead Even, No Good Deed and The Cleaner. In addition to writing, Frank is an avid hockey fan and a tortured guitarist. His wife, Kristi, supports both. You can keep up with him at http: // where he maintains his blog or the blog he shares with Jim Wilsky at http: // He also writes under his given name and you can check that out at http: //

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

Reviews - What do customers think about Heroes Often Fail?

Excellent and unusual  Feb 24, 2008
In most police procedurals, the protagonist (hero) may stumble, but in the end he or she prevails. Frank Zafiro's world is a more realistic one. His characters are heroic - they put themselves on the line every day on the streets of River City. But like everyone else who does a job day after day, they don't always succeed in what they try to do, either because of their own mistakes or because success simply isn't possible. Zafiro's characters must try to survive their failures in a job where the line between success and failure may also be the line between life and death.

In Heroes Often Fail, the suspense builds as the police search for an abducted child. Zafiro kept me turning the pages without resorting to obvious plot devices - suspending my disbelief was never an effort. I cared about the characters throughout. And in the end, few things turned out as I had expected.

I can't wait for the next in the series.
HEROES often FAIL  Feb 10, 2008


Depending on who you talked to, Officer Stefan Kopriva was a hero. Webster's defines a hero as:
a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage.

Jack Stone thinks he's a `code-four cowboy'--a despised member of the force. What is Officer Kopriva? In FRANK ZAFIRO'S latest thriller from River City, we are faced with the premise that heroes seldom fail? Not at all... HEROES often FAIL.

The most heinous of crimes is committed. A six year-old girl is kidnapped--and molested. Can she have be rescued in time? Taut and suspenseful, this haunting tale of police procedural accents the critical time-line that police face when frantically searching for an abducted youngster.

The failings of police, the wrongful information from witnesses, make HEROES a page-turner that takes you long into the night. The race against time heightens with each new development.

HEROES often FAIL will make you a FRANK ZAFIRO fan and send you searching for UNDER A RAGING MOON, the first in the River City series.

Awaiting the next surprise this fall is BENEATH A WEEPING SKY--I can hardly wait.

Dennis Leppanen

Free-lance writer & Reviewer

Author of: WHOO??
Another great book by Zafiro  Feb 6, 2008
First Sentence: It was a secret place.

The members of the River City Police Department desperately search for a six-year-old girl who has been kidnapped in broad daylight.

Zafiro has been compared, including by me, to McBain in his writing about an ensemble group of police. However, his books are darker and more realistic than McBain, but with somewhat less individual character development. Because of that, I should recommend reading "Under a Raging Moon" first. Even so, I did get to care about the characters; becoming angry for those whom I felt were treated unfairly by their fellow officers.

The story is very well written and very painful to read as it deals with child kidnapping and molestation, yet it makes its point.

There is a wonderful interview of the author at the end of the book that is well worth reading.
"Heroes Often Fail" Sears into Readers  Dec 28, 2007
The parental nightmares begin, as the often do, under clear skies and the promise of a new day early in the morning. It is March 15, 1995 as six year old girls Kendra and Amy walk to school like they have before and will walk home that afternoon like they have countless times before. That is until the van comes and slides to a stop next to them. They both freeze as a man leaps out of the van. He grabs Amy and Kendra runs knows the man could get her next. Instead, she gets away. The man in black didn't get her but as the hunt begins for Amy, Kendra is filled with guilt.

At the River City Police shooting range, Stefan Kopriva is filled with pain as well as guilt. Having barely survived a shootout at the Circle K six months ago, Kopriva remains on light desk duty. Despite being shot three times he survived and now wonders what more he could have done then and when his reputation will return to what it was before the robber known as Scarface rocked River City, Washington. The six months since have been painful. Not only as his body struggles to heal but in the misplaced admiration by some and the misplaced hostility from other members of the small police force who feel he, at best, failed them. Powerful pain medications and a growing romance are the only things keeping him going as he hates the mind numbing routine of desk duty. He wants his old life back and a symbol of that is getting off the restrictions and back on the streets.

He gets it but not the way he wants. As news of the possible kidnapping spreads through the department, it becomes a classic all hands on deck situation with every person pressed into service. Kopriva, as well as the other men and women of the River City police force desperately try to find Amy knowing that as the hours and days pass the idea that it is a simple kidnapping for ransom is more and more unlikely. For little Amy, kidnapping is quickly the least of Amy's worries.

Much of what happens regarding the child molestation in this well written but disturbing novel happens offstage. As such, scenes and images are created initially with a heavy emphasis on implied actions that are never described to the reader. As such, while not graphic or detailed, the implications and meanings of what is happening to Amy as well as what happens to another child in one of several secondary storylines are very clear and that material may disturb some readers.

With that being said, it should also be noted that this is a very good novel. Building on characters and events from the preceding novel "Under A Raging Moon" author Frank Zafiro has created a substantially more complex police procedural with multi layered characters, a rich setting, and plenty of action. It is clear that from a technical aspect this novel is superior in all aspects to his first novel which was very good in its own right. This novel is a step upwards and it is clear that Frank Zafiro is steadily improving his fictional game.

It is often said and assumed by many that an author's second book will be weaker than the first. While that often is true, it certainly is not the case here. What is also true is the fact that we have to wait far too long till the fall of 2008 for the third River City novel "Beneath A Weeping Sky."

Kevin R. Tipple (copyright)2007

Absorbing crime drama  Dec 28, 2007
Heroes Often Fail could be one of the most authentic police procedurals I've read. The story appears deceptively simple--a six-year old girl snatched from the streets, but as it jumps around between the lives of the detectives and uniformed officers trying to find her, it adds a more layered, sophisticated texture. Written in short chapters and lean, muscular prose, this is an exceptionally satisfying and engrossing read, and a book that would've made Ed McBain proud.

--Dave Zeltserman

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