California Bear

A Novel


By Duane Swierczynski

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$38.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 9, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.


This "fresh, exciting, and brilliantly unpredictable" thriller (James Patterson) from a "great storyteller" (Michael Connelly) follows four unlikely vigilantes who pit themselves against the villain behind California’s coldest case when they decide to take justice into their own hands.

“KILLER”: Jack Queen has been exonerated and freed from prison thanks to retired LAPD officer Cato Hightower. But when guilt gnaws at Jack, he admits: “I actually did it.” To which Hightower responds: “Yeah, no kidding.” You see, the ex-cop has a special job in mind for the ex-con…
THE GIRL DETECTIVE: Fifteen-year-old Matilda Finnerty has been handed a potential death sentence in the form of a leukemia diagnosis. But that’s not going to stop her from tackling the most important mystery of her life: Is her father guilty of murder?
GENE JEANIE: Jeanie Hightower mends family trees for a living, but the genealogist is unable to repair her own marriage. And her soon-to-be ex may have entangled her in a scheme that has drawn the bloody wrath of…
THE BEAR: A prolific serial killer who disappeared forty years ago, who is only now emerging from hibernation when the conditions are just right. And this time, the California Bear is not content to hunt in the shadows…
From two-time Edgar nominee Duane Swierczynski, California Bear is clever, moving, and surprising as it takes aim at the true crime industry, Hollywood, justice, and the killers inside us all.

  • “Duane Swierczynski has written his best novel, and that’s saying something. From the tragi-comic opening sentence to the heartrending final paragraph, California Bear is fresh, exciting, and brilliantly unpredictable. The Girl Detective will live in my heart forever.” 
    James Patterson, New York Times bestselling author
  • “A powerful story with myriad surprises . . . Swierczynski’s melding of a gripping plot and superb characters will prove California Bear to be one of the year’s best.”
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  • "Well-crafted...not only hair-raising but emotionally resonant.”
  • “Swierczynski is brilliant at fooling even savvy readers, and his jaw-dropping twists never compromise his exceptional character development. This is a tour de force.” 
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “The novel tackles a number of themes, including the current fascination with true-crime stories, the difficulties of reconciliation between people who have been estranged for many years, and the question of whether someone who acquires a taste for killing can ever really stop. The characters are beautifully designed, and the author offers up some tantalizing questions. . . . Swierczynski brings the story to a magnificent, surprising, exhilarating conclusion. An ambitious and deeply satisfying novel."
    Booklist (starred review)
  • “Loaded with emotion, redemption, and comeuppance in sufficient measure to inspire the hope of encountering these characters again. . . . Compelling not for its solution but for the act of solving, with modern cultural references and screen-worthy action.”
    Library Journal (starred review)
  • "There's real truth at the core of California Bear, Duane Swierczynski's latest novel. And no, it's not some ripped-from-the-headlines true crime element. It's not even the crafty writing or the dead-on dialogue. It's heart. Plain and simple. This book was written straight from the heart, and I won't ever forget it."
    Eli Cranor, author of Don't Know Tough and Ozark Dogs
  • "California Bear is a kick-ass serial killer thriller with heart. It's Veronica Mars meets Hannibal Lector, about a formidable girl-detective with a terrible sickness, her ex-con dad, and an elusive monster in crime-riddled Los Angeles. Swierczynski's written an utterly fresh take on LA noir."
    Sarah Langan, author of Good Neighbors and A Better World
  • “Twisty, engaging and surprisingly heartfelt . . . explor[ing] police corruption, dysfunctional marriages, and the bond between fathers and daughters. . . . A less ambitious writer might have built his novel solely around the search for the Bear. But Swierczynski has some tricks up his sleeve that make California Bear anything but a straightforward thriller.”
    Book Reporter
  • “With all the wit and style of Elmore Leonard, but way more heart, California Bear is a can't-put-it-down caper, an incisive look at the dark side of true crime 'entertainment,' and a beautifully moving story of a family in crisis learning exactly how far they'll go for each other, all in one. I can't wait to see more of Jack and especially Matilda, who is the kickass twenty-first century successor to Philip Marlowe Los Angeles crime fiction needs. I loved this book!”
    Halley Sutton, bestselling author of The Hurricane Blonde
  • "What a fantastic storyteller! Duane Swierczynski is the oh-so-talented face of the new noir—and his terrific California Bear is relentless (in a brilliant way) and propulsive, with captivating characters hurtling toward certain disaster—​and, somehow, redemption. Swierczynski's unique voice is unstoppable, and this evocative mystery is also infinitely heartbreaking. I could not put it down." 
    Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today Bestselling Author of The House Guest
  • "If you've been looking for a thriller that checks all the boxes - smarts, suspense and heart - you'll find it in Duane Swierczynski's California Bear. The Girl Detective is a teenage crime-solver like no other and the Bear she's up against is as dangerous as serial killers come. This is cat and mouse fiction at its very best."
    Gar Anthony Haywood, author of the Aaron Gunner mystery series
  • “Duane Swierczynski pulls off a miracle of a crime book that is both terrifyingly thrilling and deeply heartfelt—all while being darkly funny in a Elmore Leonard kind of way. From Matilda, the hospitalized wanna-be detective teen, to the coming out of retirement serial killer at the heart of this novel, the California Bear—I could not put this book down.”
    Scott Reynolds, screenwriter of Jessica Jones and Dexter
  • Praise for Duane Swierczynski and his novels
  • "Breathless action. So much fun to read-on the couch or on the run."
    The New York Times Book Review
  • "Riveting . . . Memorable characters, suspense, a native's portrait of a fascinating city, eruptions of spectacular violence--fans will love this one."
    Booklist (starred review)
  • "Swierczynski keeps the action pulsating along [with] an array of compelling characters, crisp dialogue, and pop culture references."
    Boston Globe

On Sale
Jan 9, 2024
Page Count
368 pages
Mulholland Books

Swierczynski Duane

Duane Swierczynski

About the Author

Duane Swierczynski is the Edgar-nominated author of nine novels including Revolver, Canary, Severance Package, and the Shamus Award-winning Charlie Hardie series (Fun and GamesHell and GonePoint and Shoot). He's written over 250 comics for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Valiant and IDW, including The Black Hood, the first comic for Archie's Dark Circle imprint. Swierczynski has also collaborated with CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker on the bestselling Level 26 series. He lives in Burbank with his wife and children.

Learn more about this author