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Brainquake (Hard Case Crime) Paperback – August 12, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781168199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781168196
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sam Fuller's last novel is the perfect cap on his legacy of true-to-life, flamboyant, high-impact storytelling" - Austin Chronicle 

"If you love Fuller’s movies, you will love this pulp story about a physically sick bagman for the mob who makes the most deadly mistake of all: he falls in love." - Book Reporter

"Reading Brainquake, you can see why moviemakers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese admired Fuller." - Blogcritics

"Pure, unadulterated pulp, full of a raw, rough energy." - Mystery Scene 

"Fuller plays with the unique capacities and poetics of language in often surprising and even beautiful ways amidst the stunning grit of his subject matter." - Film School Rejects

"There’s a melodramatic inevitability to everything as well as an air of unpredictability. By the end, there are no heroes or villains, just those with the ability to play the game (and people)." - Awards Circuit

"BRAINQUAKE is essential reading for all crime fiction fans and another reason to celebrate this unique and gifted yarn-spinner." - Bookgasm

"HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE.  Listen up: I devoured BRAINQUAKE in two sittings.  It was that riveting, that compelling, that interesting." - Lunch.com

"It’s the beauty of both Brainquake and Fuller as an artist—the ugly, savage, lingering fear which keeps Brainquake teetering and readers salivating for more." - Cinema Sentries

"This is Fuller at his best and worth a read if you’re a fan of his work or a fan of great crime novels. It’s uncompromising and hard hitting; you will not want to put this book down." - City of Films

"If you’re a fan of this pulp genre, this will be one solid read." - Retrenders

"If you enjoy a good crime story with some twists and turns give Brainquake a look-see." -  Pop Cults

"Brainquake is a good read and one well worth checking out for fans of old mafia films or fans of the Hard Case Crime novel series." - BGG

""Brainquake" is crackerjack entertaining, but also skillfully measured and constructed." - The Playlist

"It’s a Saturday matinee and pulp fiction in the purest sense, although there is a depth to it, particularly when Fuller is riffing on his characters." - Lit Reactor 

"It’s uncompromising and hard hitting; you will not want to put this book down." - City of Films 

"A word to the wary noir aficionado: If you start this book, don’t plan to do anything else for a while. Like sleeping." - News OK

"The dialogue blasts out  like gunshots and his tabloid inspired prose has the punchy feel of his editing. The emotions are raw and heightened. Everything is heightened, yet retains the truth in its main characters. Brainquake is full on Fuller." - Mystery People 

"Filled with powerful imagery and violence --- Brainquake is crackerjack entertaining, but also skillfully measured and constructed." - Indiewire 

"Brainquake is exactly what it needs to be; there is mystery, crime, intrigue, and plot twists a plenty." - Pop Cults

"Well worth checking out." - BGG After Dark

"You will not want to put this book down until the final bloody pages score across your brain pan. While I hesitate to ever proclaim a novel perfect, Brainquake makes quite the violent case for the designation." - Mania

"An overheated, overstuffed and never less than entertaining slab of Fuller’s expansive pulp imagination." - Turner Classic Movies

"Hard Case Crime has given us a welcome return to the world and mind of Samuel Fuller, reminding us how pleasurable such straightforward, effective, dynamic storytelling can be." - Deep Focus

"It's a little over 300 pages of can't-put-it-down writing, with so many of the descriptions and hard-hitting scenarios evoking cinematic imagery. Indeed, Brainquake reads like one of Fuller's edgy films from the 1950s (especially Pickup on South Street or The Naked Kiss), and has an air of fatalism and shuddering frustration that cannot help but feel biographically inspired by his White Dog troubles. For those interested in, or downright fanatical about, Fuller, Brainquake offers something new from an artist whose new material has subsided long ago. Hard Case Crime has given us a welcome return to the world and mind of Samuel Fuller, reminding us how pleasurable such straightforward, effective, dynamic storytelling can be." - Deep Focus

"BRAINQUAKE is a noir gem, published on what would have been the author’s 102nd birthday. It is easily one of the best books Hard Case has released in its 10-year history and has one of the greatest first lines of any noir novel I have ever read..." - Book Reporter

"The bravura opening is a knockout...Fuller fans will find it hard to resist." -- BOOKLIST

"The writing is pulpy and the violence brutal...Fuller explodes a few surprises to keep the plot unpredictable, and his mordant asides on crime and corruption elevate this tale above much standard genre fare." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"A real throwback of a crime novel, full of violence and colorful dialog...exciting and unpredictable." -- LIBRARY JOURNAL
 
"Classic noir fiction filled with shadowy underworld dealings[,] quick dialogue and rich archetypal characters…Fuller creates the kind of converging narratives and memorable personalities that will seem familiar to any Tarantino fan."  -- KIRKUS

"The writing is pulpy and the violence brutal, but Fuller explodes a few surprises to keep the plot unpredictable, and his mordant asides on crime and corruption elevate this tale above much standard genre fare." - Publisher's Weekly

"One guess as to which notable deceased writer-director-philosopher raconteur combined these ingredients into the delightfully dizzying, invigorating novel Brainquake, a beach book that storms the reader’s defenses like the Normandy invasion (which gets a shout-out here). No, this ain’t  James Ivory, pal: it’s Sam Fuller at full blast, relentlessly advancing a multipronged 
narrative while throwing restraint to the wind and leaving a Proust-load of movie-madeleines strewn in his wake. (Picture a pastry truck in a 10-car pileup after a French Connection–like chase.)" - Film Comment magazine

About the Author

Crime reporter, freelance journalist, pulp novelist, screenwriter, World War II infantryman—Samuel Fuller (August 12, 1912 – October 30, 1997) was a jack of all trades before the high-school dropout directed his first film at age thirty-six. But once he was contacted by Poverty Row producer Robert L. Lippert, a fan of his writing, Fuller was turned on to cinema—his true calling. A singularly audacious visionary of the B-movie variety, Fuller would make muscular, minuscule pictures, starting with the one-two-three punch of I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet—the last a raw Korean War saga that was one of the few films of the period to address racism in America. Soon after, Fuller was scooped up by Twentieth Century Fox, but he was able to maintain his purposefully crude, elegantly stripped-down style and teeth-bared cynicism for such studio efforts as Fixed Bayonets! and Pickup on South Street. Eventually, Fuller returned to independent filmmaking, and in the sixties (after his artistic cred had been given a shot in the arm by the French New Wavers’ embrace of him as a major stylistic influence), he directed two of his most acclaimed titles, the pulpy and profound Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss, both corrosive satires of American culture. Even in his career’s twilight, Fuller didn’t shy away from controversy: his early eighties social horror film White Dog was shelved by the studio for more than a decade due to its provocative, bloody investigation of American racism.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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An excellent read for fans of the genre.
S. Brady
Fuller works his way comfortably around crime, weaving a cautionary tale about greed and envy only the way a true master storyteller could.
E. Lee Zimmerman
It is a very enjoyable story and there are few stories like it anywhere in any genre.
Dave Wilde

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dave Wilde on August 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
"Brainquake" is a story about one of the most unusual characters in hardboiled crime fiction: Paul, who has a cipher for a face, who doesn't like to talk much because his voice sounds like sandpaper, who has few friends, who lives in a small seemingly abandoned shack, and who has "brainquakes" or seizures where the whole world turns pink. Paul is also a bagman for the organization and races around town in his taxicab (his front so he can pretend to have a legitimate job) and makes pickups and drop-offs all over the five boroughs. He is trusted with sums of cash one can barely imagine carrying around. As a bagman, you have no friends, no lovers, no wife, no family. No one you would confide in. When you retire (if you make it that far), there is a special hotel where the retired bagmen live. Paul might not be suited for most jobs, but he is suited for this one. He picks the best routes around town, racing to escape the pirates who are always out there ready to grab the loot.

Paul likes to sit in the park on his days off and read poetry. While sitting in the park so engaged, Paul falls in love with "Ivory Face," who just happens to be a mobster's widow. What else can he call her when he doesn't know her name? He brings her flowers and poems and his whole world turns upside down when they have to flee with $10 million in a bag he was carrying at the time and with the police and the organization out to get them.

There are probably very few books with heroes like this one. This book is hardboiled crime with double-crosses and mistrust. It is a love story. It is a coming-of-age novel about a boy who grows into a man the hard way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MORTY S. TASHMAN on August 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
The bad news is that the great Sam Fuller left his mortal coil back in 1997. The great news is this remarkably prolific man has left such a plethora of ideas and stories that even in death they can still be read, savored and enjoyed as if written today! Brainquake is one such example of his genius and it's a true Fuller 'yarn.' HIGHLY reccomended in these days of revisonist pulp and rejuvenated noir. There are many pretenders to the throne in such times but Fuller was, and is, the real deal having lived much of what he wrote himself (his memoir, A Third Face, is also HIGHLY reccomended). Not since Jim Thompson has a writer deserved as many accolades in death as he recieved in life. Brainquake is one such project derserving of post mortem accolades, a fascinating bit of dark imagination. Hopefully there are more such unrealized project still untapped.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Lee Zimmerman on September 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
I don’t know what it is. Maybe I was born too late. I’ve mentioned before how much I love vintage crime, the type of thing that was being written for the dime novels of the late thirties and forties. Heck, even some of the muck from the fifties I’ve managed to dredge up sounds pretty good by comparison to the stuff on the shelves today … but thank goodness for the team at Hard Case Crime. Since their inception, they’ve been committed to bringing those days old back to blazing, bloody life, even if that means finding something penned much more current but not given the Hard Case treatment.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)

From the product packaging: “The bagmen who transport money for organized crime live by a special set of rules: no relationships, no ties … no alcohol, no women … no talking … and never, ever look inside the bag you’re carrying.”

If that alone doesn’t tickle your fancy, then you’ve really little to no interest in what’s trapped between this cover. This yarn by writer/director Samuel Fuller blisters with action and intrigue, the type of which usually gets ignored by so much of ‘mainstream’ literature. After all, how many critics have essentially dismissed the mystery as having no legitimate place in literary history? I’ve read those criticisms on more than one occasion, and all I can say is if they don’t want ‘em then I’ll be happy to read ‘em as time permits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Silas Thorn on August 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a good thing Hard Case Crime is around to unearth lost gems like BRAINQUAKE. It's just about everything you could want from a Samuel Fuller novel: vivid and full of conviction. The first chapter's opening salvo sets the stage for what is a wild, strange ride involving a protagonist with a brain disease, a mob widow, a ferocious assassin, and a whole lot of cash. If only Fuller was still around to make it into a film.
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By Terry Wood on October 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A surprise of a story. From the very opening words you know you are reading something that does not fit the normal pulp crime genre. Don't let the cover fool you. It is done this way to stylishly represent a bygone era in pulp crime novels. But this is no pulp crime story and the cover looks nothing like the lead character in the book who experiences brainquakes. The protagonist is a bag man for the mob...the guy who picks up and delivers the days profits from gambling and other illegal activities. A qualification for this job is utmost trust and a look and lifestyle that does not attract attention. I will not give away any of the plot as it should continually unfold for the reader. But if you are tired of the formula crime story where a flawed but honest cop tracks down a really flawed baddie, this book is for you. Samuel Fuller tells a helluva story!
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