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Shortcut Man: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439194173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439194171
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,015,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dick Henry calls himself the “Shortcut Man.” Whether he’s hired by a landlord coping with a deadbeat tenant or a woman whose widowed father is being bilked by a pen pal, Henry is there with a smile, a fist, a solution—and no annoying paperwork. His simple approach gets complicated, however, when the client is a porn producer who wants to know if his gorgeous young wife is cheating. It turns out that Henry already knows the wife, biblically, but by another name. Henry’s fix only works until the client decides he wants more information, and soon the Shortcut Man is navigating an unpredictable series of detours in an effort to keep himself—and his love life—alive. This fast and funny debut paints a wickedly comic portrait of L.A. in all its sprawling seediness, only losing momentum when it shifts from Henry’s lively, first-person voice to third-person scenes with the other characters, who just aren’t as interesting. But if you start reading, you’ll want to finish. Just don’t peek at the ending. --Keir Graff

Review

“This book is a blast! Wry, mysterious and, most of all, telling in the ways of desire and deception, Shortcut Man is one hell of a debut. p.g. sturges has proved himself a worthy successor to Chandler.”
--Michael Connelly

"This is an assured and diverting performance, with an ending that should impress even the most seasoned fan of hardboiled detective stories. You thought every twist ending in the noir bag had been taken out and used up, p.g. sturges seems to be saying as the book rushes toward its final page. Well, get a load of this."--Washington Post

"Shortcut Man is a glorious read: powerful, clever, suspenseful and filled with enough dark humor and shady characters to satisfy the most rabid noir fan, and convert those who aren't already."--Associated Press

"Shortcut Man joins the wisecracking, bone-breaking tradition of California noir stretching from Chandler to Hammett to Robert Crais's latest Elvis Cole novel. . . A gripping read."--The Boston Globe

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tom McGee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Based on a superb review by a cyber friend I hold in high regard, I purchased Preston G. Sturges' debut novel, Shortcut Man. I wish I would have enjoyed it as much as he did, but it was just not the type of book that I prefer to read. This is no reflection on either the author or my friend; it is just my personal taste. I guess that is why cars are made in different styles and colors.

The author does a great job developing his characters and moving the story along. His writing skills are excellent and story unfolded in an interesting manner. I am sure that Sturges will have a large following, will write and sell many novels.

My problem with this genre is that the abundance of crude profanity, explicit sexual activities, sociopathic behaviors and unlikeable characters are not something I find entertaining.

A former submarine sailor turned cop, who took the behavior of heinous criminals personally, Dick Henry did not let the badge get in his way as he meddled out his own brand of justice. His career changed; however, his brand of justice escalates. He is the Shortcut Man--a violent guy who makes his money resolving insurmountable problems for clients using any mean he deems necessary.

Dick hooked up with "Lynette, a plainly amoral, possibly evil" private airline stewardess at the Sunset Strip House of Blues, when he propositions her with a crude sexually linked pick-up line. Their ongoing commitment was purely sexual, using each other at will.

By the time Arnuldo Guinaldo was an adopted 16-year-old; he had killed five deserving criminals and moved from the mean streets of Manila to Poway California.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Shortcut Man" is P.G. Sturges's debut novel, and he definitely comes out swinging.

Dick Henry is the "Shortcut Man", the guy you go to if you want to bypass the system and its red tape and take a "shortcut" directly from your problem to its solution. An ex-cop who doesn't mind applying his knuckles to your woes. His only problem is that he's still burdened by his own moral code, no matter how hard he tries to get around it.

Dick's fallen in lust with Lynette; the only downside is that he finds out that Lynette is actually Judy, who happens to be the wife of the guy who's hired him to find out if Judy is cheating on him. Needless to say, this does tend to complicate Dick's life.

This book's written in a fast-paced and deceptively open style, with many darker and more complex underlying themes. It's funny, wry, engaging, and populated with fully realized characters. It's a satirically accurate portrayal of LA and Hollywood, reminiscent of the work of another newcomer, Daniel Depp, with touches of Raymond Chandler thrown in for good measure. Definitely a bit of the modern noir here, folks.

It may seem, at first blush, to be a little on the short side by today's standards, coming in at a slim 224 pages. Don't let that fool you; there's not a wasted word here, and I'd rather read a book that's tightly conceived and executed than a bloated monstrosity that you have to wade through with hip boots.

Get it. It's a helluva fun read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B.A. Reader on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
For every person who has ever been ripped off by a contractor, been left unpaid for an honest day's work, cheated on or ignored "Shortcut Man" is a book that will make you feel the satisfaction of sweet revenge. Dick Henry is a former cop who broke "a cop's primary unwritten directive: Never get personally involved." His new gig allows him to not only get involved, but mete out justice for anyone who hires him. When Porn Producer Artie hires him to find out if his wife is cheating, Dick Henry finds out that she is, and Dick Henry finds out that he himself is the "other man." When Artie wants the other man killed, Dick Henry needs to keep his own identity secret while seemingly carrying out the task for which he was hired. Dick Henry is a fascinating character and "Shortcut Man" is terrific enough that you will be impatient for the sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James L. Thane on August 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Dick Henry is the Shortcut Man. He's the guy to call if you've got a perplexing problem with no quick, easy legal solution. Say you're a landlord with an unruly tenant who refuses to pay the rent and who is relying on his "legal rights" to remain in your apartment unmolested indefinitely. You might be an elderly widow who's been ripped off by a slimy contractor. Or you could be a woman whose father is being bilked by a phony Filipino sweetheart. In each case you could hire a lawyer, go to court and wait interminably to see if you might get some small measure of justice.

Or, you could just call Dick, who is likely to solve the problem much more quickly and efficiently.

Life is going swimmingly for Dick who's also carrying on a torrid relationship with a sexy woman named Lynette. Then he gets a call from a porn producer named Artie Benjamin. Artie suspects that his wife, Judy, is cheating on him and he wants Dick to determine if his suspicions are well-founded. Dick agrees, and all of a sudden, his life is not going so swimmingly anymore.

This is a very entertaining book with some hilarious moments. It's a pretty quick read through a lot of very short chapters, and you can't take the whole thing very seriously. But it's a fun way to spend a couple of hours and I'll be looking forward to Dick's next outing.
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