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The Blind Rooster Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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What strikes me most in Lang’s work is the casualness of his narrative voice. His debut The Carrier (280 Steps), which came out earlier this year, had a similar understated tenor. It’s a manner of delivery that allows him to present the utterly random alongside the marginally droll alongside the plainly silly alongside the brazenly vile, all without ever changing pitch. There’s no shrill emotion or overbearing melodrama or manic activity. His narrative moves fluidly from one moment to the next, and between the minds of his six principle protagonists, each of them vying for first place as the least remarkable person in all of crime fiction.
Full review at www.benonbooks.wordpress.com
Having just discovered Lang's work, I have enjoyed each of his books. They are all different. They all have a subtle narrative voice that draws you in without, for the most part, over-the-top action. Lang's books are not filled with pulpy phrases. He doesn't try to parrot the old masters of crime fiction. But, what he gives you in these books is just really top-notch fiction. You find yourself rooting for a conman/burglar/bum who has never held a real job and sponges off whoever he meets.
“Everyone else on this bus paid the fare. They’re all waiting to get somewhere, and you’re holding them up. They all hate you.”
“A lot of people hate me; my mom hates me.”
Ralph’s a con man and drifter and he’s just landed in the small town of Presser. He pulls a fast one in a diner and when he crosses paths again with the waitress, Arlene finds himself being sold a story about rare stamps that Arlene wants to steal from a neighbour and former family friend.
Arlene lives uncomfortably at home with her mother, Gracie a wannabe singer and her stepfather. She’s had enough of small town life and waitressing and Ralph could be part of her ticket out of town. When they break into the neighbour’s safe, there’s no stamps but a DVD of Arlene’s stepfather and a male college student and he’s not helping the kid with his homework.
Cue blackmail. Can you blackmail a blackmailer? You can try, though it gets complicated when you don’t trust your partner, your victim teams up with his victim to fightback and you end up in the sack with your partner’s mother after a few hours spent in a karaoke bar.
Sex, mistrust, family, singing, bars, motels, computers, cell phones, popcorn, diners, money, secrets, plans, confrontation, revised plans, more confrontation and the inevitable gun. It doesn’t end well for all our combatants.
Great story set in a small town, plenty of twists and surprises. There’s pace and a real cadence and rhythm to Lang’s story that had me reading on and on… just one more page, one more chapter.
A great cast of characters, not all likeable, but all believable and real with their weaknesses and fears, their damaged relationships and perversions and not least the thwarted ambitions.
Ralph, despite his criminality I found to be likeable, intelligent, quick-witted and adaptable. Without spoiling the ending, I’m hoping that Lang features him again in future books.
A tick in every box.
5 from 5
Preston Lang has another published book - The Carrier that sits on the kindle. To be read sooner rather than later, I think.
I received my copy of this from the publisher Crime Wave Press.
Most recent customer reviews
I found Lang's name in the "Switchblade" anthology I read recently (see my earlier review) and really liked his short story in there, so I went...Read more
I did enjoy this. I did but to me it wasn't holding me in as much as I suspected it too. I wasn't held into the story like I wanted to.Read more