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Bust (Hard Case Crime) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2006

34 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Max & Angela Series

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Mass Market Paperback, May 1, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This first-time collaboration between two rising crime fiction writers is a full-tilt, rocking homage to noir novels of the 1950s, taking full advantage of the neo-pulp Hard Case Crime imprint. Wealthy, successful New York City business owner Max Fisher finds himself in a delightfully familiar scenario: he wants to get rid of his nagging wife so he can shack up with his sexy secretary, Angela Petrakos. When Angela introduces Max to Dillon, a former IRA hit man, Max thinks he's found his man; what Max doesn't know is that Dillon is already Angela's man—and the two plan to double-cross Max as soon as it becomes profitable. Dillon, however, proves to be less a professional than a psychotic: he'd just as soon kill "for the price of a pint" as he would for Max's wealth. Rolling in on the action is wheelchair-bound Bobby Rosa, an ex-con with a taste for lewd photography, guns and blackmail. As it tends to do, the murderous plot goes awry, sending Bruen and Starr's delicious, despicable characters scrambling for their money and their lives. A seamless blend of Bruen's dead-on Irish underworld and Starr's hellish vision of the Big Apple, Hard Case's latest release is smart, trashy fun, fulfilling ably the series' irresistible promise. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

All-star jams are usually disappointing; put Keith Richards and Eddie Van Halen onstage together, and they won't have a feel for each other's songs. The authors' star status may be debatable, but in the tiny world of two--author novels, the analogy is worthwhile. Both Bruen and Starr have strong, idiosyncratic voices: Bruen favors deep-thinking, soulful heroes, while Starr leans toward shallow losers. Will Bust be number one with a bullet or a B-side? The plot, which seems Starr-like, concerns a New York businessman who hires someone to kill his wife so he can marry his secretary. There are crosses and double-crosses, miscalculations and blunders, and plenty of dead bodies. Written in limited third-person--a smart approach--it reads as if each writer writes for certain characters (and would Bruen let Starr write the Irishman?). For those who like the bungling-criminal genre, this is good fun. Those who prefer to empathize won't like it as much. But it's only a diversion for fans of either writer: like an all-star jam, this one isn't quite equal to the sum of its talent. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime (Book 20)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime; First Edition edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843955910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843955910
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,196,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Ross on July 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The CEO of NetWorld, Max Fisher, wants his wife dead. He's decided that he's ready to marry his girlfriend Angela -- a fiery Greek-Irish executive assistant with amazing new components -- and start over. Divorce is not an option, what with half of his formidable assets on the line.

So Max agrees to meet Angela's cousin's buddy, a hit-man named Popeye. What Max doesn't know is that Popeye is actually Angela's real boyfriend. He's a psychopathic Irish "proveen" -- a small-time enforcer for the "Ra" (IRA), who are smart enough to keep him at arm's length. Predictably, given this cast of characters, the hit goes down, plenty of things go awry, and things start to spin out of control.

Compounding matters is a hood named Bobby Rosa, now confined to a wheelchair, who makes his living blackmailing couples engaged in compromising relationships. Through sheer coincidence, Rosa happens to snap some shots of Max and Angela "celebrating" his wife's departure. Once Rosa confronts Fisher -- who is already under heavy police scrutiny -- with the photos, the plot swings in a rush of completely unpredictable turns.

You'll be hard-pressed to tell where Bruen's work ends and Starr's begins. The story is seamless and pulse-pounding. The characterizations are deep; you'll feel you've gotten under the skin of Max, Angela, and even the nutcase hit-man. My guess is you won't be able to stop reading until you flip the last page.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 19, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
BUST is the result of an unholy alliance between Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, two modern masters of noir fiction. They bring together a fearsome and wondrous mix of vile characters on the streets of New York City to create a caper novel worthy of Westlake or Leonard, but with the dark edge of...well, Bruen and Starr.

Max Fisher is a software millionaire who's tired of Deirdre, his shrewish, ungrateful and unappreciative wife. The fact that Fisher is seeing Angela Petrakos, his Greek-Irish secretary, isn't helping matters. Angela is the perfect combination of angel and hooker, with a bit of gold digger thrown into the mix. When Fisher wonders out loud what life would be like without Deirdre, Angela wastes no time in setting up a meeting between Fisher and a very strange hitman known only to him as "Popeye." The shooter is Angela's paramour, Dillon, fresh off the boat from Dublin. Their plan is to acquire Fisher's fortune for themselves. The only problem is that Angela is no longer crazy about Dillon, and Dillon feels the same way about Angela.

Dillon is without question a bad guy, but there's no one here who is truly likable --- except perhaps for Bobby Rosa, a redoubtable paraplegic who spends his days brooding bitterly over his past career as a criminal and surreptitiously taking photographs of women. Rosa's likeability is only made possible by the revelation of a soft side one would not expect. When he has the chance to blackmail Fisher, however, he jumps at the opportunity. Everyone in BUST is caught in a dark, swirling whirlpool that takes everything and gives nothing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill Garrison VINE VOICE on July 25, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
BUST is a never-before-published book in the Hard Case Crime series. Hard Case Crime books contains classic crime novels as well as new thrillers. One thing all these stories have in common (I've read six of them) is that none of the characters are good people. Bust takes that to the extreme. Max Fisher is having an affair with Angela. Max hates his wife and hires someone Angela knows to kill his wife. Angela lives with Dillon and is only after Max for his money. Bobby is a wheelchair bound criminal blackmailing Max. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Each character commits a heinous act after heinous act, each plot turn worse than the one before, each character action is usually a crime to cover up a previous crime. None of the characters are sympathetic. All of them are clueless. And that is why I recommend this violent, gritty novel. It fits right in with the genre. If you like Hard Case Crime books, then you must read this one. If you are new to the series, I suggest checking out a classic to get familiar with what to expect. There is nothing uplifting in BUST, but that doesn't mean you still can't enjoy the awful selfishness of the evil characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger Angle on September 3, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These three books -- BUST, THE MAX, and SLIDE -- by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr are good raunchy fun. They use the classic formulas of crime fiction and squeeze them for all the suspense and humor they can muster. I like these books much better than many hardcover novels, with or without crime elements. I was reading THE MAX for the second time and laughed out loud on every page of Chapter One, with Max in prison. (It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.) The second chapter, from Angela's POV, didn't work as well for me. Max Fisher is a high-flying coke-fueled loser with delusions of grandeur and one of the funniest characters I've met in fiction. These three books are definitely worth a look.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ASalm on August 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first heard of this Bruen/Starr collaboration, I was thrilled as this are two of the best (and two of my favorite) new master of the hardboiled tradition. So expectations were high when I sat down to read the result.Well, BUST delivers. In spades! Watching a "simple" murder plan unravel chapter by chapter is BUST in a nutshell. And what a ride! The pace is rocket speed, the characters wonderfully crooked, crazy, obsessed, inept and memorable. The dialogue is sharp and, at times, laugh out loud funny. If you like great hardboiled fiction, you can't go wrong with BUST. It's everything a great crime novel should be. Destined to be a classic. Don't miss it.
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