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Hell's Kitchen Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Finding an Apartment in New York can be Murder" might have been the tagline of this entertaining, engagingly sloppy comic thriller. The plot centers around Cyrus, a trust fund dilettante turned serial killer who lures desperate New York apartment hunters into his clutches by advertising sublets in the Village Voice. Niles cuts quickly back and forth from an account of Cyrus's descent into madness to the tales of a clutch of prospective "tenants": Quinn, a handsome, perpetually blocked "Black Irish" writer; Tye Fisher, a gorgeous, charmingly criminal woman who has a more mercenary fake sublet scheme of her own; and Gus and Susie Neidermeyer, a young Midwestern couple whose fresh-out-of-college innocence dooms them to an early slaughter. With an investigative role played by Catrina Vermont, an aging TV reporter on the graveyard shift who is assigned to the story, the novel hurtles through New York's high and low society toward a clever if credulity-straining ending. Despite his murderous habits, Cyrus is the least interesting character, a rather perfunctory American Psycho retread. Niles's social satire lacks the stylish bite of that definitive yuppie-serial-killer novel, but also, thankfully, its pretentiousness. Niles writes in a jaunty, colloquial style that moves the action along nicely, but sometimes degenerates into a long string of clich‚s. She is at her best with dry, often hilariously over-the-top observations of New York life in general and the rituals of the apartment search in particular; at one point, a well-dressed young woman marches into a grotesque crime scene, stepping over bodies and ignoring the gore-spattered walls as she pulls out her checkbook to inquire, "Three months' deposit okay?" Scenes like this make the novel a fun, breezily grisly read.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

If tongue planted firmly in cheek is your dish, check out this slice of dark comedy by the author of the Sam Ridley mystery series (Spike It). When, in apartment-starved New York City, an ad appears for a "1 BR X-huge studio at a reasonable price," the con artists, wackos, and serial killers start circling. These include a young newlywed couple from Michigan, a blocked "writer" whose latest assignment is the aphorisms found in fortune cookies, a TV news "face" whose ratings have been sagging lately, and a transplanted Brit. The serial killer is a cross between Jeffrey Dahmer and Pepe Le Pew who, while stumbling after his guru down the path to enlightenment, finds time to strew frozen body parts in the freezer sections of local supermarkets. This is one of the few current thrillers that does not include recipes, and it all goes down as painlessly as takeout Chinese. For larger public libraries, where such tangy fare should find a ready audience. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888451211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888451214
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,467,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
Put the two together, add a mix of 4 very different and interesting characters, and you have a tasty pudding.
Linda Sackstein
With witty and clever scenes, poetic narrative, humor and some insight into the mind of a serial Killer, Chris Niles has written an exciting novel in Hell's Kitchen.
phillip tomasso III
Full of memorable characters and wonderfully dark humour, this is one book that will stay with you longer after reading the last page.
Tania Hutchison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By woodstock_ap on December 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Whoah! Talk about black comedy!
Her earlier series featuring radio newsman Sam Ridley displays a flair for the comic side of mystery fiction, but Niles truly comes into her own with this romp through present day Manhattan.
The dark situation comedy is peopled with an unlikely mix of characters: a lovely con artist who has been carefully taught by her British father in all the tricks of the trade; a writer enduring an apparent life long attack of writers' block, reduced to composing inserts for fortune cookies; a TV news reporter struggling to hold on to her career while working under an editor committed to sexual harassment as a way of life; a distraught midwestern mother searching for her missing son & daughter-in-law, assisted by a sympathetic New York cop; and a delightful cast of supporting characters too numerous to list here.
All the plot lines converge on the issue of finding a Manhattan apartment to sublet at reasonable cost, and the presence of a homicidal maniac who entices his victims to his Greenwich Village apartment through newspaper classifieds.
The book drew me in in wonderful "can't put it down" style - and until only 2-3 pages before the hilarious conclusion, I had no idea whatever how events would conclude. I just love it when that happens!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "griep" on November 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Chris Niles' Hell's Kitchen is a very nice and sometimes even funny book to read. The subjects are far from nice, but that is only good I guess. The book is about Cyrus, who is a serial killer. Tye, who is beautiful and a bit of a crook. Quinn, who wants to be a writer but has trouble getting started. At first they seem to have nothing in common but that changes during the story. Hell's Kitchen vaguely reminded me of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. This is probably because both take place in New York, have short chapters and a serial killer plays an important role. Hell's Kitchen is not as depressing as American Psycho and Cyrus is not as good a rolemodel as Patrick Bateman ;) All in all I definitely recommend this book and I give it a good solid thumbs up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tania Hutchison on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
The lives of various New Yorkers (including a serial killer, struggling writer, and beautiful pickpocket) intersect in this engrossing story. Full of memorable characters and wonderfully dark humour, this is one book that will stay with you longer after reading the last page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By phillip tomasso III on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Unique and intriguing. Fortunate enough not to be in Manhattan looking for an apartment to rent, I read Chris Niles' novel, Hell's Kitchen, with wonderful interest. The book is odd and quirky, humorous and deranged, or in a word, enjoyable.

Chris Niles targets a select group of people who find themselves about to be homeless for one reason or another. And in case you did not know, people practically kill to find apartments for rent in Manhattan. However, this novel moves to a different beat. This is not a murder mystery about someone killing to get a place. This is the story of a serial killer that murders people who call on his ad for a room to rent.

The individual stories of the characters looking for an apartment would have been enough to make this a surprising and refreshing novel. Their lives are all so different and interesting. With Niles adding a serial killer to the plot, it just made the entire story that much more entertaining.

With witty and clever scenes, poetic narrative, humor and some insight into the mind of a serial Killer, Chris Niles has written an exciting novel in Hell's Kitchen.

--Phillip Tomasso III, author of Third Ring & Tenth House
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