Thursday, June 14, 2007


by Ken Bruen & Jason Starr
Hard Case Books
224 pages (Available in Oct.)

This is a sequel to this team’s first collaborative effort. In that book, BUST, we were introduced to Max Fisher, a shiftless businessman who operated a small computer software outfit. He plotted with his secretary, a gorgeous blonde schemer named Angela Petrakos, half-Irish and Greek, to have his wife murdered so they could collect her inheritance.

Without going into details, the wife did end up dead, but so did Angela’s psycho killer boyfriend who did the dirty deed, as well a New York city detective who stumbled on the pair by accident. At then end of BUST, Max somehow managed to convince the authorities he was innocent and was set free. Meanwhile, Angela had fled to Ireland.

SLIDE picks up months later, and nothing much has really changed for both of them. Angela has unwittingly ended up living with as yet another sociopath serial killer and Max finds himself penniless in a seedy southern motel with no clues as to how he got there. The genius of Bruen and Starr is their ability to invent some of the most memorable characters you’ve ever met this side of Quentin Tarrentino territory, with a heavy dose of Elmore Leonard thrown in for good measure.

By the time Max returns to New York with a scheme to become a big time crack dealer and Angela flies home with her Irish pscho in tow, you know damn well the bodies are going to start piling faster than you can turn the pages. And they do, with such cold-blooded, black humor, you can’t help but laugh aloud with each new gunshot, razor slash and rocket launcher explosion. SLIDE is a masterpiece of dark comedy taken to side-splitting limits that left this reviewer dizzy with glee. Not to be missed if you like your noir flavored with a heavy dose of wry comedy.


Glen Davis said...

I'm eagerly awaiting this. I loved Bust, the first novel, and from this review it seems the boys topped themselves.

I'm waiting for Song of Innocence to come out on July 3.

Glen Davis said...

Finally read this.

I really enjoyed it. Angela was much less sympathetic in this book than in Bust. That's what made this book a success. Max is delusional as always, but Angela can't claim to be a woman wronged anymore, and she knows it.

Hoping for another sequel.

Ron Fortier said...

Your in luck, Glen. Hard Case Crime has announced there will be a third book in this series. Supposedly the plot involves Max's experience in prison. Sounds like another laugh fest to me.