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The Old Turk's Load Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802121136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802121134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,358,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It’s 1967, and a shipment of the world’s finest heroin is en route to Angelo DiNoto, New Jersey’s top crime boss. The Newark riots intercede, however, and 10 pounds of pure Turkish heroin, worth $5 million, end up in the hands of Richard Mundi, a shady Manhattan real-estate developer. DiNoto has hard cases shaking every tree, and Mundi, whose business is tanking, knows that he’ll be found out, but he’s more concerned about his beautiful, willful daughter’s relationship with a self-styled revolutionary who is really an FBI snitch. Mundi hires a tough-but-not-so-bright PI to follow his daughter, as well as to become a patsy to hand to DiNoto, if necessary. Soon, half a dozen people are scheming to obtain the heroin. All have larceny in their hearts but lack the criminal savvy to pull it off. Gibson’s elliptical, ever-evolving plot seems a marriage of Raymond Chandler complexity and Donald E. Westlake comic haplessness, but he imbues his characters with a kind of desperate humanity that is brilliantly played out when Manhattan goes dark in the famous 1967 blackout. The sense of time and place is wonderfully evocative, and The Old Turk’s Load will be a signal pleasure for crime-fiction aficionados. --Thomas Gaughan

Review

"Nostalgia, noir and narcotics are blended together in a runaway train journey that careens down the track at breakneck speed . . . Breaking new ground in crime fiction with his unusual protagonist, Gibson gets a gold star for deftness, great writing, lethal encounters, mayhem, murder, and bleak black humor." -- Seamus Scanlon,  Library Journal (starred review)


" 'The Mailman didn't even stop to pee.'  If you can resist a sentence and sensibility like that, you're taking yourself too seriously. Gregory Gibson's The Old Turk's Load is a hoot, a neo-noir that just zips along.'" -- Stewart O'Nan, author of The Speed Queen

"...character descriptions that shine like pistols in sentences that burst like bullets. . . .With its sparse dialogue and nonchalant treatment of sex and violence, The Old Turk's Load is probably the fastest neo-noir read on crime novel shelves. Exquisitely hard boiled, this crime novel is the perfect beach read for those nurtured on Tatantino and Spillane." -- Dominic Viti , The New York Journal of Books (starred review)

"Gibson's elliptical, ever-evolving plot seems a marriage of Raymond Chandler complexity and Donald E. Westlake comic haplessness, but he imbues his characters with a kind of desperate humanity that is brilliantly played out  . . . The sense of time and place is wonderfully evocative, and The Old Turk's Load will be a signal pleasure for crime-fiction aficionados." -- Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (starred review)

"The Old Turk's Load is a marvel of Chandleresque plotting, with a deeply felt and utterly real '60s setting and a heart as big as all outdoors." -- Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Kill All Your Darlings

“This well-handled caper novel recalls the late great Donald Westlake.”-- Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Gregory Gibson's father was a traveling salesman, and his family moved frequently, mostly in the northeastern quarter of the country. He graduated Massapequa High School, Massapequa, New York in 1963, and Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania in 1967. He then joined the United States Navy and spent three years as a shipfitter on a sub tender, sailing up and down the Pacific coast. Gibson has said he considers this period "an ideal grad school experience".

After the Navy he moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts and got a job repairing docks on the waterfront. This was unsatisfying, since he wanted to be a writer. However, he'd gotten married and started a family, so he postponed writing books and began selling them instead. In 1976 he opened his own antiquarian book business, Ten Pound Island Book Co., specializing in old and rare maritime books and manuscripts. Ten Pound Island Book Company also publishes books primarily of local interest

In 1992 his oldest son was murdered, the random victim of a rampage shooting at Simon's Rock. The shock of this event caused him to write a book investigating how such a thing could happen. The book, "Gone Boy: A Walkabout", met with critical success, and was Entertainment Weekly's "best book of the year" for 1999. It is still in print, currently in its third printing.

The satisfaction Gibson derived from writing it convinced him that he should write another one. "Demon of the Waters: The True Story of the Mutiny of the Whaleship Globe" was the result. This book tells the story of the grisliest mutiny in the history of American whaling, and it, too, was well reviewed. The New York Times deemed it "a worthy contribution to the literature of whaling".

Gibson's third book, "Hubert's Freaks" is the story of Bob Langmuir, a gifted but troubled antiquarian book dealer whose headlong pursuit of the archive of a Times Square freak show led him to the discovery of a trove of hitherto unknown photographs by the great American photographer Diane Arbus. Also in the archive were the notes and dream journals of Charlie Lucas, an African American performance artist who ran the freak show (it was called Hubert's Museum) in the 1950s and 60s. The discovery so excited Bob that he commenced an affair with Arbus, and a soul-communion with Lucas, even though both had been dead for decades. When he was released from the Behavioral Health Evaluation Unit he resolved to redeem himself and his discovery by taking it into New York's high-end art world. What follows is both a spiritual journey and a fresh look at the business of art. Larry McMurtry said of the book, "Hubert's Freaks will fascinate those among us who are continually stimulated by the richness and variety of American subcultures. I devoured it".

Gibson's non-fiction works specialize in the close examination of various American sub-cultures, from gun collectors to whaleship crewmen to freak show performers, usually as seen through the eyes of a single strongly delineated character. His approach combines unflinching realism with dark, dry humor.

In April 2013 his first crime novel "The Old Turk's Load" was published to excellent reviews. Booklist said, "Gibson's elliptical, ever-evolving plot seems a marriage of Raymond Chandler complexity and Donald E. Westlake comic haplessness, but he imbues his characters with a kind of desperate humanity that is brilliantly played out when Manhattan goes dark in the famous 1967 blackout. The sense of time and place is wonderfully evocative, and The Old Turk's Load will be a signal pleasure for crime-fiction aficionados."

He lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts and in Cork City, Ireland with his wife, Anne Marie Crotty.

Customer Reviews

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See all 17 customer reviews
The characters are memorable and the plot is tense with action and unexpected turns.
Peter Anastas
While I am mostly a non fiction reader stories like this are why I am sometimes lured to fiction.
Gary C
Reading "The Old Turk's Load" is a lot like being in speeding car without any brakes.
Donald Marritz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gary C on May 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read that Gregory Gibson's "The Old Turk's Load" was forty years in the making. Here's hoping his next piece of fiction comes along much quicker. While I am mostly a non fiction reader stories like this are why I am sometimes lured to fiction. The historical feel for the times was right on and I for one can't wait to hear more from Walkaway Kelly, one of the best new fictional characters I have come across in some time. This tale was worth the wait.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rob Lewine on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"The Old Turk's Load" is a great "noir" ride: fast-paced, sly, smart, darkly funny, laced throughout with finely-observed references to the political and cultural stew that was the 1960s. A terrific read, in a classic but updated style for all who came of age in those turbulent times, as well for those who didn't. Gregory Gibson is a literary entertainer, and his sensibilities run deep. Buy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randall Warner on May 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You read the first two pages of this book- the first two sentences- and you get a voice, a style, an attitude, a vision, and that ineluctably delicious enthusiasm to rush ahead to the next two, and the next two, and the next and the next. To invoke the names of James M. Cain, Dashiel Hammet, and Raymond Chandler is not to exaggerate. TaDum- a new classic is born. -with Barry Feldman from Thessaloniki, Greece
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Marritz on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Reading "The Old Turk's Load" is a lot like being in speeding car without any brakes. The male characters are funny and sad, and the women are hot. This book offers the perfect way to spend a weekend.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter Anastas on April 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Gregory Gibson never ceases to amaze. Those readers who were gripped by Gone Boy, Gibson's searing account of coming to terms with his son's murder by the now all-too-familiar figure of a campus gunman, were equally mesmerized by Demon of the Waters, his true history of the early 19th century mutiny on the whaleship Globe. Gibson followed that triumph with Hubert's Freaks, an insider's story of the antiquarian book market centering on the passion of a well-known dealer for the photographs (if not the person) of iconic photographer Diane Arbus. After three highly successful non-fiction books, Gibson has turned his hand to fiction. And what fiction it is! The Old Turk's Load is neo-noir in the finest tradition of noir: it draws the reader into a mystery embedded in the dark side of American life, while also entertaining us with the same kind of acerbic humor this hallowed genre is famous for It is also a knowing book about controlled substances and those who traffic in them. The characters are memorable and the plot is tense with action and unexpected turns. In all, a terrific addition to the growing Gibson canon.
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Format: Hardcover
I love surprises, and THE OLD TURK'S LOAD is one of them. Gregory Gibson is the highly regarded if non-prolific author of three nonfiction works. At an age when most individuals would be not merely contemplating but actively engaged in retirement, Gibson has published an instantly memorable debut, a complex, occasionally darkly comic novel that exceeds its own promise on all levels.

The MacGuffin of the book is a shipment of heroin --- the "Old Turk's Load" of the title --- that quickly goes astray within hours after initially being acquired by the minions of New Jersey crime boss Angelo DiNoto. The shipment quickly finds its way into the bands of Richard Mundi, an unscrupulous real estate mogul. Mundi's company is all but tapped out due to a combination of a series of bad investments, ill luck and a fading economy. Mundi knows from nothing about selling heroin, but sees the equation of "drugs = money" as being simple and uncomplicated. Julius Roth, Mundi's enforcer, is a dangerous man who does not let his conscience get in the way of what he has to do, yet is not above regret. He sees early on that Mundi, his childhood friend, has gotten to the point in life where his reach has exceeded his grasp, not only in the business sense but cognitively as well.

However, Mundi's problems are not limited to bad ideas and a fading real estate market. His daughter Gloria is an attractive disappointment, choosing to hang out with a group of wannabe revolutionaries run by her boyfriend, a well-known street revolutionary named Kevin Gallagher. Gloria becomes aware of the heroin in her father's possession and makes the double-edged mistake of informing Kevin of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. N. Tipper on August 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The title of my review is the first thought that came to my head when I finished THE OLD TURK'S LOAD, and I think it pretty much describes the tone of Gibson's crime-thriller debut. The novel's action kicks off when a load of heroin goes awry during the chaos of the 1967 Newark riots, and the story's pace never lets up as an assortment of characters--some humorous, some nasty--go after the load. The plot is full of twists and turns, the writing is smart and crisp, and the ending doesn't disappoint. I recommend this book highly, and can't wait to read what Gibson comes up with next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sunshine on July 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. Well-written, good story, lots of humor, and sympathetic portrayals of characters-although on the surface they would seem hard to like. After writing absorbing non-fiction, this is a splendid surprise.
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