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Dirty Sally Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (July 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670033197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670033195
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,922,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Three grisly deaths kick off Simon's fiction debut, a stylish noir thriller set in Austin, Tex., in 1988. A prostitute named Nikki, well past her glorious prime, is suffocated; politically active college student Rick Schate is crushed by a city bus; and stand-up cop Joey Velez dies in the line of duty. This last death is most significant to volatile protagonist Dan Reles, homicide detective and Joey Velez's best friend and partner. Reles went into an alcoholic tailspin after Joey's death, which led to suspension and then probation. Now someone is sending parts of Nikki's body (she's nicknamed Dirty Sally by police) to prominent local citizens, and the Schate fatality looks increasingly suspicious. Reles hopes to climb out of ignominy by cracking these two cases. Unfortunately, Sally's not the only dirty one: some of Reles's cop colleagues are crooked. Though the novel is anchored in Reles's brooding, yearning narrative, Simon challenges the reader with myriad sharp asides that seem unrelated but ultimately fit neatly together. Watching them fall into place is one of the chief pleasures of the book, along with Simon's lean sensual prose. This is a great read and promising series kickoff.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Austin, Texas, 1988: homicide detective Dan Reles is grieving his dead partner, lusting after the partner's wife, and maintaining a tenuous hold on his temper and his job. Scouring the scene of an apparent traffic accident, he stumbles on a badly mutilated woman's body. All the identifying parts are missing, and when the killer starts delivering neatly packaged slices to local notables, the pressure is on Reles to find what the deliveryman wants. This is gripping, brutal stuff, with a freight-train plot that roars to a jump-the-tracks ending. If there is a slightly tired cop-needing-redemption strain, it's more than redeemed by the setting and themes. A New York Jew, Reles is an outsider in good-ol'-boy country, and he's also an angry observer of a city reeling from a crack epidemic, an oil bust, and the stock-market crash. Towering above the mess is a would-be president who wants public institutions to start making a profit for him and his pals. There's an echo of L.A. Quartet-era Ellroy in Simon's debut, and it's a welcome sound. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Michael Simon is a novelist and private writing coach. Born in Levittown, Long Island, the birthplace of mass-produced housing, he studied at Northwestern University and NYU.

In 2004, Viking published his first novel, Dirty Sally, which introduced the half-Jewish, New York Mafia-born Texas homicide detective Dan Reles. Dirty Sally was lauded by The Chicago Tribune as "A bloody and intriguing delight for noir aficionados." The Seattle Times called it "the finest crime-novel debut since Dennis Lehane's A Drink Before the War in 1994." It was named one of the Top Ten Thrillers and Mysteries of the Year by Amazon.com.

In 2005, the second book in Simon's Texas series, Body Scissors, was published, also to critical acclaim. The Rocky Mountain News called it, "Fast paced and suspenseful from start to finish."

Viking signed on for two more Dan Reles thrillers, Little Faith (2006) and The Last Jew Standing (2007).

To date, Simon's works have appeared in Swedish, French, Italian, Japanese, and on audio tape.

He lives in New York City. Read more at www.michaelsimon.info

Customer Reviews

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The characters are believable.
jennie
I stumbled across this book and was immediately hooked from Page 1.
Jonathan Geffner
This book will keep you up all night.
Bookreporter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Desert Yogi on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After reading the first few pages, I found myself so engrossed by this story that I couldn't stop reading - I literally couldn't put this book down. Michael Simon captures the parlance of the old-style gum shoe - and this, his debut novel, is sure to become a noir classic. I kept thinking this book would make a great Hollywood movie - suspenseful plot, interesting characters and extremely well-written. Hopefully this will be the first of many more books by this fantastic new author.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on April 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Set in Austin, Texas, Dirty Sally is the brooding debut novel of Michael Simon and hits the ground with a dark murder, an even darker more disturbed homicide squad and a compelling investigation taking place among the detritus of society. It's the kind of contemporary noir story that fans of George Pelecanos, James Sallis and Ken Bruen will enjoy and be clamoring for more.

The story begins with a gruesome murder.

Well actually, that's not entirely accurate. In fact the murder is a fairly run of the mill strangulation of a prostitute, the likes of which has been detailed in any number of thriller in the past. The gruesome part comes after the torso of the victim is discovered by Dan Reles when parts of the body begin showing up in the mail of selected Austin businessmen.

Dan Reles is a homicide detective with the Austin police department and is one extremely tormented guy with a list of emotional issues dating way back to his childhood. The first time we meet him though is his first day back at work after he had been suspended for hitting another cop. Dominating just about every thought in his head is Joey Velez, his partner, mentor and friend who was killed 6 months previously. His inability to cope with the death has turned him into an unpredictable loner and he is generally regarded by his fellow cops as a loose cannon.

But back to the case. An unidentified prostitute's torso is a grim enough find but pieces of her being sent through the mail calls for full and immediate action. Someone is out there sending a powerful message, but to whom?

This is a much more complicated story than a simple murder investigation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Gritty, coarse, rough; ideal descriptions for this debut thriller by a former actor/disc jockey/cab driver/probation officer, to mention only a few of Michael Simon's many careers. Now he can add successful writer to the list.

Sgt. Dan Reles, New Yorker by birth --- and nature --- is striving to assimilate well into life in Austin, Texas. But his current focus is dealing with the recent death of his partner, Joey, and his disturbingly inappropriate feelings for Joey's widow. She has become nearly an obsession, an obsession so blatant that it has earned him sneers and crude comments from fellow officers. He knows that if he doesn't shape up soon, he may be out of a job. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a lot of friends on the APD, being not only a bit of a loner but definitely not a team player when it comes to dirty cops.

On a scorching September evening, Reles catches the call for a possible suicide. But it smells funny to him. A fellow committing suicide by jumping in front of a bus right after a rushed breakfast at a taco stand? While on the scene, searching for body parts to complete the badly mangled corpse, Reles spies a bonafide homicide victim, no doubt about it. Regrettably, more parts are missing from this torso than the bus victim. The missing parts start showing up on the doorsteps of some of Austin's leading citizens, and the police start wondering why. What's their connection? The Austin PD is convinced that, as soon as they can identify the victim --- if they ever locate the hands or the head --- they might have a shot at figuring out motive and finding a suspect. But when the crucial parts surface, they trigger more questions than answers.

Meanwhile, Reles has a nasty run-in with an officer who harbors a dangerous loathing for him.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Radanovich on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a full-on page turner, and has all the elements of a hot series: cool Austin location, the perfect outsider's outsider--Yankee and Jewish Reles, Texas political subterfuge, and a perfect noir sensibility. I tore through this book. I tried hard to take nibbles of the story so that I wouldn't finish it so fast, but I just couldn't stop reading. Whoever this Simon guy is, I'm buying his next book. No, make that: whatever he writes, I'm buying it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In 1988 in Austin, Texas, homicide detective Dan Reles feels his world is collapsing with the "Ultimate Sacrifice" death of his partner Joey Velez in the line of duty that makes him feel angry and all alone. The transplanted New York Jew also recently lost his spouse who left him. The Austin PD brass becomes concerned with Dan's violent behavior that could be a chip off the old block amplified by his recent losses; they place him under departmental evaluation.

Reles sees an opportunity to atone for his overly zealous performance when he is assigned to investigate the torso of a prostitute found in a nearby ravine. A macabre twist occurs as her other body parts have been forwarded to prominent men in Austin. As he begins his inquiries into the sleazier side of the state capital, a bus hits a U of T student that only Reles believes might be connected to the homicide he already is investigating.

The investigation is terrific as fans see the underbelly of Austin through the eyes of a wounded cop already down twice. Dan is a fabulous cop struggling with demons, loss of loved ones, and a rage that will not let go as he makes this urban noir work. Though the climax has a body count that only undertakers will appreciate, this gritty tale will lead to Republican Party denials and trashing of author Michael Simon.

Harriet Klausner
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