Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seduction of the Innocent (Max Allan Collins, 2013)

Conclusion of Collins' Jack Star comic books trilogy. This time around dark clouds are gathering upon this unworthy business as an intense Congressional campaign against the publishers of these dirty books takes place. Dr. Werner Frederick is one of its leaders so this holly witch hunt gets the whole new dimension when he is killed. Sinister shadow of suspicion falls on various publishers and artists and it's up to Jack Star to clear their names and of course saves the face of the whole industry so it can continue to seduce and corrupt our precious innocent children.

Hard to do this one a justice. As a crime/mystery novel it more or less sucks. Starts okay, but soon I got fed up with its easy and humorous (well, kind of) style. Characters are interesting and offbeat enough (guy with a monkey in his office!) as it only becomes to a book with a background in comics industry. There are also countless references to comics industry (artists, publishers, distributes, events...) which are cool enough but don't really help the story itself to take off. When it finally does, it gets more readable (introduction of mobsters works quite well I thought) but it's all fucked up with the horrible ending. Agatha Christie kind of climax where all the suspects are assembled in the same room and our hero reveals the fucking butler.

In fact, when I think about it, the whole setup is actually pretty good old Agatha-ish: crime in an unusual surroundings, strange murder with perpetrator doing some weird shit with ice in order to mess with a time of dead, linear storyline with one or two characters introduced each chapter etc. Maybe I don't get that latter thing and I wouldn't be surprised that this structure is kind of hommage to daily papers serials but still it was a bit too monotone. Also Jack is kind of amateur detective and he cracks the case simply by having revelation (or - in comic books jargon - a light bulb goes off over the character's head).

But on the other hand and after having said all that, lots of things noted above work very well (just not as a whole) and give this book a special tone. Even though plotting is not its strongest side, story is cool and unusual. And I did like characters and all that crap about 50s comics scene and found most of chapters preceding illustrations adorable. Cool idea and welcome novelty indeed!  Collins of course is a master of dialogue (though strictly no fucks here!), smooth writing and fluent storytelling. A little resentment that I have (once again) is his totally childish depiction of women and sex. Jack is another one of his macho heroes to whom women throw themselves without much of the thinking. Maybe in this one it's kind of justifiable but still stuff like "yes she was natural blonde" or "he was hung like a horse" sounds pretty stupid and childish.

Don't know really, it's a very mixed bag. I guess I just expected it to be some sort of a cute silliness in the same vein as Deadly Beloved. I'm surprised it was published by Hard Case Crime in the first place because you won't find much of the hard boiled action here I'm afraid. It does manage to catch that pulpy feeling but I would still categorize it as a cosy crime or, if we are a little mean, even put it into the young adults section. But let's not be mean - it is after all MAC's love letter to 50s comics and strip culture which we all love.



Jack Starr, 33.  vice president of the Starr Syndicate. Troubleshooter, also registered P.I.

New York

Body count: 2

Dr. Sylvia Winters, "Cross between Kim Novak and Grace Kelly." Layla Lamont, gifted, beautiful and wild cartoonist.

Jack passes out twice but has some curious way about doing this. Not very convincing to say at least, because he drops out after all the action's already finished. This gets even more peculiar (not to say ridiculous) second time around because (1) he's beaten for a whole minute by two "professional" thugs. He than manages to (2) free himself, (3) beats the living shit out of both those assholes and their boss, (4) drives home and then passes out in the elevator on his way up to his apartment.

Comic books seduce innocent children and they must be stopped!

Terrific once again, as we would expect from the maestro Glen Orbik. And it's actually 100% related to the story because it portraits the actual cover of one of the incriminated "Suspense Crime Stories" comic books. And it gets even better because in prologue Layla's pushed to death from the 14th story window. But needs to be said that book offers even better material for its cover. I'm talking of course about the fist fight between Jack and Pine on the staircase while naked Layla is watching them. Just imagine the possibilities! Maybe next edition...

Cool lines:  
He looked like a twelve-year-old who'd just been told the facts of life and was appalled yet intrigued.

"I remember you, Mr. Starr," she said, with a faint smile, as if she were recalling the long-ago day when she still could stand men.[The Coolest!]

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Way Some People Die (Ross Macdonald, 1951)

Early Macdonald. This is the third Lew Archer novel which chronologically continues after The Moving Target has ended (btw Miranda Sampson and Dwight Troy are even mentioned in this one).

It starts as a simple case of a missing/runaway and not too innocent girl who gets mixed up in the company of bad men and - as expected - which turns into a complex mystery involving drugs, gamblers, gangsters, movie people etc. Bodies start to pile and soon - as expected - it's not just about solving the case in a classical whodunnit style, but it's about the dark souls and moral dilemmas that our white-armored knight needs to face and deal with: 

I knew if I didn't go back for her I wouldn't be able to forget her. A teen-aged girl with heroin in her veins was the stuff bad dreams were made of.

So - as expected - another Macdonald's masterpiece. Especially interesting and enjoyable to read since his style wasn't really polished and defined at this early stage of his career. But nevertheless it's simply brilliant and another timeless classic. Just need to read his stuff every now and then in order to wash away some 'modern' junk and remind myself from where most of the good crime books originate.



Lew Archer P.I. 

Santa Monica and Palm Springs, L.A., briefly in San Francisco

Body count: 5

Galatea "Galley" Lawrence, married Tarantine is our main femme fatale. Plus junkie Ruth and Mrs. Marjorie Fellows

Cool sounding, but it needs to be said that nobody dies in any special way here.

Pretty average. And although there is a guy with a brass nuckless, this nasty piece of work doesn't play some major role.

One. Not described terribly vividly:

 In any case, I'd been a pushover. I was ashamed to open my eyes. I lay in my own darkness, face down on something hard, and endured the thudding pain at the base of my skull. The odour of some heavy mantrap perfume invaded my nostrils. After a while I began to wonder where it was coming from.

Cool lines
There was something the matter with his eyes. They were brown and wet and protuberant, as if they had been dipped in muddy water and stuck on his face to dry.

The giving and receiving of money, its demand and refusal, were Dowser's basic form of communication with other people. That and the threat, the blow, the inflicting of fear and pain... He grunted, and gave me a hundred-dollar bill. A piece of money takes its feeling from the people that have handled it. This money twisted in my hand like a fat green tomato-worm.

"You're Archer! How did you get here?" 
"It all goes back about thirty-seven years ago"[The Coolest!]

He was kind of puppy who would lick any hand that he was afraid to bite. It was depressing not to be able to hit him again because he was younger and softer and too easy.

Her type had been invented to make man comfortable. Without a man to be nice to, she didn't know what to do with herself at all. And she was without a man.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Empty Copper Sea (John D. MacDonald, 1979)

In all due respect to Mr MacDonald, this is hardly his best work. To be perfectly honest and blunt - it's pretty fucking bad.

McGee and his sidekick Meyer are working on restoring (in their words it is "salvaging") reputation of their friend sailor Van Harder who has been framed by some sneaky asshole millionaire during the staging of his death. On their arrival to a small coast town in Florida they soon run into a usual bunch of protagonists: a wife (widow?), a beautiful Scandinavian missing secretary (mistress?), local policeman, night club piano player, loser addicted to a crystal meth, a bit mental millionaire's assistant and his beautiful sister etc etc. All entangled into dark and sinister mystery which will be revealed within a closed family circle. Not really a whodunnit type of revelation, more like moral and melodramatic type of crap.

Not too original but then again it doesn't really need to be. Lots of great books follow this formulaic template and lots of them manage to pull off good story and satisfying reading. Not this one, there are more things misfiring here than actually functioning.

There's no suspense built up, almost no corpses right until the end. Which is understandable since our two amateurish detectives don't really stir things up when they arrive. They just wonder around and keep interviewing locals without much of any solid progress. McGee does manage to score with a piano player and they all get drunk on an occasion and there's this pathetic meth addict that gets killed in a car accident but none of these episodes have any real impact on the main story.

Pretty boring stuff but still bearable. Looks like MacDonald realized that sad fact himself, so at the beginning of the 10th chapter everything changes. Unfortunately for the worse - instead of concentrating on the plot twists and shifting up the pace/suspense gear, our hero falls in love!?!? So fast forward few chapters and his case is still stuck but his chosen one is already "one of the truly great, all-time, record-breaking, incomparable girls" and they spend quality time dreaming on the sand dunes, swimming, lighting fire, talking, kissing...

I also had a bit of a problem with the narration. Language is good and fluent and it's well written and all but everything just takes so fucking loooong. There are pages and even chapters without hardly any decent action or dialogs. Way too many tedious descriptions and unnecessary sub plots, especially those related to (doctor of economy!) Meyer are hard to digest. Not of course to mention and bitch again about the "romantic" crap.

Not sure how to feel about this one. I was looking forward to read McGee book again and maybe this is a reason why I felt so disappointed and even cheated. Needed to remind myself that this was 17th of the series and that MacDonald was more than sixty years old when he wrote it. So let's not hold it too much against him. Maybe he simply got a bit bored with his hero and/or allowed his senile romantic fantasies about beautiful and perfect beach girls to creep into the story way more than they should.



Travis McGee

"You're not private detective, then?"
"Me? No. Those people have to have licences and be bonded and carry insurance and report to the law people whenever they go. They charge fees and have office phones and all that. I just do favors for friends. Sort of salvage work."

Timber Bay, Florida

Body count
4, at some point even 5 but McGee and Meyer successfully manage to revive an old man back from the dead after a car accident.

Julia Lawless (wife), Kristen Peterson (mistress), Billy Jean Bailey (piano lady) and of course beautiful and perfect Gretel Howard.

One. And pretty pathetic one since McGee passes out while drinking.

It does appear word by word in the book but, like everything else, it takes a few paragraphs to actually describe its meaning. In short - McGeee is so saddened by his beloved's death that it makes him see the sea in a copper color. There also seems to be some biblical explanation of this but I'll leave it to Wikipedia to explain it.

One of those incredibly dull ones where names of the author and main protagonist are printed using larger font than title itself. I can see no link between the photograph and story so my guess would be that publisher was willing to spend as little as possible $$$ on the artwork and just bought the rights for some random photo. At least they were decent enough to state an author. He is Langdon Clay and this is his website where I was actually able to find this photograph - it's the first one of the gallery titled "Cars, New York City area, 1974 - 1975". You see, it truly has nothing to do with Florida or this book.

Cool lines
None really. Unless you are into romantic novels...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Getting Off: A Novel of Sex and Violence (Lawrence Block, 2011)

Kitty used to be regularly molested by her father when she was in her early teens. Maybe not really molested because she did enjoy this "education" a lot. In fact enjoyed it so much that she killed the old pervert after he had decided to end their "relationship". And while she was at it, she also killed her mother since she was turning the blind eye to this whole affair.

Now she is wondering around the country, getting off on fucking guys and killing them afterwards like a true American serial killer should. No motives or explanations are needed because "This is what I do. This is who I am." Then - out of the blue, approximately around the first third of this 330 pages piece of shit - she gets (even more) disturbed when realizing that she has actually left five of her former playmates alive. And we finally get at least something resembling the plot - she feels the urge to find them and fuck them and kill them so "she can be a virgin all over again".

Halfway through this excruciating mess Rita comes into the picture and our ladies start some sort of a bizarre sex-less phone-sex affair. No worries, there will be happy ending and our heroine will finally get psychoanalytical revelation that she was just "Fucking and killing her daddy, over and over."  But somehow I doubt that Getting Off will be part of some Freudian course curriculum anytime soon.

It has frantic pace as Kitty travels the entire USA killing (and of course fucking) 20+ people but it never truly takes off the ground. It's just a repetitive stuff that doesn't move anywhere. Bodies are piling at a minimum speed of a corpse/chapter. There are few corpse-less chapters, but they mostly contain just some blabbing about sex (Rita's story). Desperately trying to be shocking and visceral by using language too vulgar and "dick jokes" humor.

A little exception is an episode with the unfortunate Graham who had joined SLA since he had an affair with our lady death. So he cannot be seduced and this is something that Kitty is most definitey not getting off on. Instead she's pretty pissed off (see 'cool lines' section of the facts). At least until she realizes that she doesn't have to fuck the guy in order to kill him. She's a bit slow, I was wondering about the necessity of that "rule" from the very beginning.

There are other attempts to spice this thing up. While the episode with a Mormon moron is mildly amusing, one with the veteran soldier doesn't work and is more or less pathetic. Also introducing three additional serial killers crossing paths with Kitty (on two separate occasions) just makes everything even more confused and boring.

So let's just finish this. Obviously, main question here is Why? Or why the fuck? To me Getting Off seems like a result of some sort of joke or bet between Hard Case editor Charles Ardai and Lawrence Block. Something like "let's publish some trash published previously as short stories and see if people will actually go for it". Not sexy, not funny and not violent (with an exception of scalping scene). Even crap like Money Shot is a masterpiece comparing to this.



Katherine Ann Tolliver, daddy's little soldier. Now at age 23, Kitty the serial fucker and killer

criss-crossing the whole USA

Body count
A bit hard to sum them all up. 21 are confirmed kills and I doubt that last guy made it, so let's make it 22 officially. There's also a carton of poisoned Marlboros that Kitty smuggles into a prison and since cigarettes there are used for trading I would speculate that few packs did their intended job for sure. And let us not forget this curious thing called proxy baptism (see facts section 'title') meaning that Kitty could also be responsible for killing additional 151 souls!

Kitty aka Kimmie aka Gloria aka Marsha aka Lindsay aka Pamela aka Gloria etc etc etc + Rita aka Ree + Angelica

One, resulting from a car crash.

Kitty is getting off on fucking and killing people.

And funny enough, on page 212 I've found clarification of the term "New Hope for the Dead" which is of course title of one of the Charles Willeford's masterpieces whose meaning escaped me. In fact I'm still not sure if I got it as it has to do something with Mormons and a thing called proxy baptism (see 'cool lines' below).
Cover: Nice and sexploitative as the title suggest but not very accurate. Indeed, there is a scene where she kills a couple but not with a knife. Gary is done by an icepick and Angelica is strangled by a scarf. Hermes scarf! By Gregory Manchess.

Cool lines
Forget it. Fucking thing was locked up tighter than an SCA member's asshole. 

Did the SCA people know about the GPS? Like, were they okay with him having an authoritative female voice telling him where to go and what to do? Like, couldn't he have a male voice, just to remove another possible occasion of sin?
Fucking moron.

"He was baptized a hundred and fifty-two times."
"He was? Why, for God's sake?"
"For God's sake, and for the sake of a hundred and fifty-one poor souls who went through life without being baptized. It's a Mormon thing, Kimmie. It's called proxy baptism."

[From Kitty's marriage vows that she wrote herself under the influence of too much and too strong coffee:]
" have and to hold, to love and to cherish, to suck and to swallow, to admit and to welcome into all the openings of my body..."[The Coolest!]

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maximum Bob (Elmore Leonard, 1991)

Quiz time! What connects following people: redneck white trash Elvin Crowe and his redneck white trash nephew Dale Junior, pot-head (turning into crack head) ex-doctor Tommy, parole officer Kathy Baker and ex-mermaid at the Weeki Wachee Aqua Bar who communicates with a twelve years old slave girl dead for more than one hundred years? And lets also drop in this weird mix a hungry alligator left on a porch.

Answer: Judge Bob Gibbs! Nicknamed Maximum Bob for "lenient" judgments he is known for giving his clients. And also a racist, misogynist, primitive, horny dirty old man. In short - another redneck. Btw, he's Harry Dean Stanton look-alike.

And there are more, much more of these adorable oddballs. We have a policeman Gary aka "hair puller", Dr. Tommy's homosexual (I think) servant Hector, Elvin's woman (and Tommy's) drug dealer Earlene who is a night club dancer (so everyone calls her a go-go whore) and - last but not least - few other respectful members of the Crowe clan. You see, Dale Junior is just "a dumb kid who thinks he's tough" and Elvin is simply insane, but there's also his illiterate one-legged, bedridden brother Dale Senior. Plus his wife Mavis's greedy and "alligator looking" sister Inez who is married to an alcoholic Dicky. So it's almost a good thing that Dale and Elvin's brother Roland is already dead because HE used to be the craziest S.O.B. of the three brothers and I'm not sure that novel could take another one of these crazy rednecks...

So it's all about characters. Maestro Leonard moves them around like pieces on the chess board. Some suddenly re-appear after being absent for a while (Bob's crazy wife), some are used just once (Inez) and some are simply and unexpectedly terminated (no names, I won't give away any spoilers!). Same goes for their roles - we start with Dale Junior as a main villain but gradually Elvin steps into his place. Tommy is at the beginning just a marginal character but he and his servant Hector are gradually getting more and more importance. Masterful characterizations, always on the right side of the thin line that separates believable and too farcical.

Story is great although I did notice one or two small plot holes and ending deserves more intense climax. It probably also wouldn't lose much if that romantic subplot would be dropped altogether.

But it doesn't really matter since it is written superbly. I think the ratio between characterizations, dialogues, other descriptions (complex legal system is a good example) and events themselves is just about perfect. Narration is combined by mixing three main protagonists stories and by using this technique author manages to adjust the pace as he wishes. Fancy words; I guess I'm just trying to say that Leonard grabs you by the balls and doesn't let go unless he wants to give you some breathing space! This style is perfected to the max in the chapter where Kathy interviews Leanne and Elvin follows Gary to a hairdresser. Two trivial and almost banal little episodes are inter-cut in the perfect timing and great tensions is created by using one's ending as a cue to the beginning of other. We know that shit will go down, but Leonard just keeps teasing and postponing and teasing again. So fucking good you simply cannot stop reading it.

I'm not religious about Elmore Leonard but this one is truly brilliant. Pretty unique stuff aside of course from Charles Willeford. I'm so glad Maximum Bob is his debut on my blog, there will be others following for sure. Any suggestions?



Hard to pinpoint actually because there are three main protagonists in this one. But since it is titled after him, it's gotta be the judge Bob Gibbs aka Maximum Bob

North of Miami - Palm Beach, Lantana, Ocen Ridge

Body count: 4

Kathy Baker, probation officer. Earlene, "go-go whore"

Blackouts: /

Hilarious and to be honest it was the main reason why I've taken the book of the shelf at Waterstones and checked it out. And a great nickname for the next cool Robert I will meet! 

Great, great picture of Elvin sitting on his porch wearing cowboy hat, holding a gun and surrounded with empty "longneck" beer bottles. And of course alligator lurking in the background. So very cool and capturing the spirit of novel perfectly. I'm really surprised that its author is not stated.

Cool lines:  
He could tear up the house when he got mad, 'specially when his stump bothered him, as it was doing now. Mavis said the only way to protect herself and all their dishes was to hide his artificial leg on him.

Elvin spoke of prison for a while, about sports and movies, making it sound not too bad. Though advised Dale to get laid tonight; be his last shot at some front-door lovin'.[The Coolest!]

Booger music was coming out of hidden speakers and the go-go whore was moving to it on the terazzo floor, looking around bug-eyed like she's died and gone to whore heaven.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fifty-to-One (Charles Ardai, 2008)

There simply cannot be any other book representing 50th entry of this blog. It's a special edition celebrating 50th publication of our favorite Hard Case Crime publishing house, written by its editor and co-founder Charles Ardai. Taking place 50 years ago and very cleverly constructed in 50 chapters which are titled using titles of the HCC published books (in consecutive order!) And it is not subdued to this "anniversary" edition just in terms of form, also (and more importantly) its content is well aligned too since plot's main vehicle is publication of a "dangerous" book. And yes, it is published by the Hard Crime and yes, one of our main heroes is the publisher himself!

But wasn't exactly blown away by this one, maybe because I had expected too much since Little Girl Lost (first entry of this blog btw!) was so brilliant. I also like tough professionals as protagonists and I'm definitely not much into this "some shit happens to an average person" kind of stuff. First question that usually comes to my mind and usually stays unanswered is "Why the fuck doesn't she simply call the cops!?" Sorry to say, but Fifty-to-One is no exception to this rule.

For the obvious reason, it's long. And too fast moving - Tricia runs around frantically from point A to B to C to D and back to B and so on. Sometimes alone, other times accompanied with either Erin or Coral or Mike or Charley and bumping into all sorts of criminals and shady characters. It sounds good, but it doesn't work terrifically well, especially in the second half things start to get a bit repetitive and at times even confusing. I'm a bit surprised that Ardai wrote it in this linear fashion and concentrated so much on his leading lady heroine. True, there are two exceptions (literal transcript of a chapter from the book describing the burglary and Mike's report to Tricia) but the whole thing would probably turn out more suspenseful if chapters would be told by different narrators. At least is written very well and with lots of dialogues so it never gets boring. I wouldn't say that plot is exactly water tight, but it was interesting enough to made this quite a page turner.

Enough of this criticism, what the hell is wrong with me!? I shouldn't say anything negative about this special issue. It is Ardai's love letter to his 10+ years ongoing project and to pulp novels in general. I had immense pleasure in discovering cleverly disguised characters from previous books and HCC inside jokes (like where do unusually long feet on some covers come from). It brought back so many pleasant memories and - when checking out the gallery of covers - I was surprised that I've actually read just 25 of those first 50 books. Which is good as it leaves me lots of great stuff in the future.

3/5 for the book, 5/5 for the effort and concept and 10/5 to Hard Case Crime publishing!


Tricia Heverstadt aka Trixie. Although true hero is of course our editor Charley Borden. At the end he is considering changing his name and Tricia suggests something easy to remember, like Gordon or Arden. May I suggest "Ardai"?

NYC, late 50s

Body count
10, probably a stiff or two more because there are two shoot-outs (good guys vs. bad guys and bad guys vs. law enforcement) at the end and it's hard to keep an accurate body count.

Lots of them - Tricia and her sister Coral, Erin (I liked her a lot, she was a bit under-used in my opinion), Renata, Heaven, Reenie, few other dancers/boxing fighters etc

Blackouts: none

Another example of smart writing by disguising a title into the "50" concept. Fift-to-One is a sadistic game of cards that main villain plays with his victims. He picks up a single card from the deck and leaves his co-player with 50-1 odds to name the next one. You can of course imagine what happens with her or him in case it's not the right one... 

Totally accurate, it describes Erin and Charley from the scene on the page 36. Another great one by Glen Orbik

Cool lines:  
"Ladies, ladies, if I can interrupt this little tea party," Borden said, "we've got a big problem here. There are men - large men, angry men - who would be happy to do me great physical harm if I don't give them a piece of information you're telling me I can't give them. This is not an acceptable situation."

"Where are we going?"
"What's in Brooklyn?"
"Cheap rent," Erin said. "And plenty of bars. And what do you find where there's cheap rent and plentiful booze?"
"Artists," Erin said.
"Stella's  not an artist."
"No, Stella's a model.And who knows better where to find a model than artists?"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hide and Seek (Ian Rankin, 1990)

When in Knots & Crosses Rebus discovered that his daughter had been kidnapped, his first response was a pathetic whining "Jesus Christ. Help me, oh help me.... Dear God, let her be safe. Dear God, let her live." In this one he returns to the crime scene on a routine inspection (I think) and realizes that somebody has added some Zodiac signs type of shit to the previously painted pentagram on the wall. And, since the paint is still fresh, what do you think his reaction would be this time?  I quote: "Superstitious to his core, Rebus turned on his heels and fled, not bothering to relock the door behind him."


I'm not saying that all our heroes should be as though as Mike Hammer or Shaft (nobody of course is btw), but this is simply ridiculous. I can understand that Mr Rankin was trying to portrait his protagonist as human as possible and can somehow even forgive him for sending poor old John to the church, but can we please draw a line at some point?

Courage isn't the only quality of Rebus that hasn't improved much from the last time around. Even though he has been promoted to a Detective Sergent and has gotten a junior partner (one with the shoe-leather, while he is the brain), his detective skills remained pretty poor. We are on the page 171 and case just doesn't move anywhere, then we finally get another corpse on the page 179 which results Rebus in having a revelation (an epiphany even) ten painfully boring pages later.

But he doesn't really need some incredible lucidity to solve this fucker because plotting is non-existent and full of holes. Let me throw you just a couple of examples. His ex girlfriend's boyfriend is somehow involved in the case and also - even better - one of his main suspects attacks his new partner's girlfriend and tells her where the crucial piece of evidence is located later when she visits her in the hospital. According to Wikipedia, there are almost 850 thousand people living in Edinburgh, so you can calculate yourself the odds for those things to happen.

Plot is as predictive as they come. It starts with a mandatory small-time crime (murder of a junkie disguised as an overdose), a bit spiced up with already mentioned occult crap and some "shady" characters thrown into the pot and finally climaxing in revelation of corruption and moral decay of city's high society. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this book it just doesn't work. Especially ending is horrible because Rebus has a bunch of solid evidences plus witness testimonials and yet - for some reason unknown to me - he decides to assemble a group of loyal policemen and assaults this sinister night club in a good old Eliot Ness manner.

I honestly have no idea about where this "Unsurpassed among living British crime writers" crap comes from. This is just another under average police procedural stuff.



Detective Inspector John Rebus

Edinburgh - AIDS, heart disease and false teeth capitol of Britain.

Body count:5
Dames: /

none, although he's pretty close to one when Tracy kicks him in the balls.

Highly original one, especially in a crime genre.

As exciting as the novel and as original as the title.

Cool lines:/