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Damnation Street (Weiss and Bishop Novels) Paperback – September 10, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Two-time Edgar winner Klavan again puts his own quirky spin on classic noir in his slam-bang third contemporary crime thriller to feature PIs Scott Weiss and Jim Bishop (after 2004's Shotgun Alley). Paunchy, moralistic Weiss, head of the Weiss Detective Agency in San Francisco, is still searching for bewitching prostitute Julie Wyant (aka Julie Angel), who's threatened by a relentless murderer the press has dubbed "the Shadowman." Weiss's nihilistic operative, Bishop, ignores all caution to help his boss. The terse, third-person narration occasionally switches to first person as Klavan, who claims to have worked for Weiss, inserts himself in the story, which he describes as a fictionalized memoir. While this authorial intrusion may interrupt the main action, it leads to some hilarious consequences. After drawing the reader in with a gripping plot and engrossing characters, Klavan produces a jolt at the end when he slyly reveals that... it's all fiction!
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* A haunted, hard-drinking PI. A whore with a heart of gold. A remorseless killer with a gift for disguise. Blood, rain, and long nights behind the wheel. It takes genuine talent to make these tropes feel fresh--and Klavan's got talent to burn. In the successor to Dynamite Road (2003) and Shotgun Alley (2004), shambling, intuitive Scott Weiss is trying to save Julie Wyant, a hooker he has never met, from the Shadowman, a psychopath intent on torturing her to death. Weiss hunts Julie knowing full well he is being followed, leading the killer to his prey in order to bring him into the open. It's a great plot device, creating a bizarrely symbiotic relationship between Weiss and the Shadowman. Adding to this book's pleasures is the way Klavan posits it as a fictionalized memoir, inserting himself into the story as a budding writer and wannabe tough guy. His youthful naivete casts Weiss' weary-souled musings on the dark side of human nature into even sharper relief. Damnation Street has it all: great characters, inventive plotting, darkness, light, horror, and humor, all fused into a relentless tale of suspense that will have readers in agony to know how the final shot is fired. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Klavan is a far better writer than Cornell Woolrich, the Hitchkockian novelist to whom he is most often compared. His prose sings to a rythmic beat, without the forced language that was part of even Woolrich's best work.
THE GOOD NEWS: This is a terrific mystery, with a complex interweaving of plot, idea, and shoeleather that follows Weiss, Bishop and....the narrator... around a complex plot involving love, fights, and the discovery of reality. The twists in the plot will surprise you, and the resolution delight you. And you wanted that, right?
Buy the other two first, and read them. Then buy this. Read it. Feel oddly accomplished. Look for more by Klavan: he knows when to push a plot into interesting shapes.
HIghly Recommend Reading The Whole Weiss Bishop Series but This Book Can Be Enjoyed Solo
The novel picks up with a conflict in progress: Weiss is using his extraordinary tracking skills to find a hooker that he thinks he's in love with. Weiss has another motive for tracking her down, because he knows she's attracted another unrelenting suitor, a twisted killer known as The Shadowman; Weiss believes that once he finds her, he'll also find the killer, whose very existence is deeply offensive to him. Fearing that Weiss is in way over his head, the nihilistic Jim Bishop tries to protect him by taking out the Shadowman before he can hurt his ex-boss. The devious and deadly Shadowman, however, has other ideas.
To say that Damnation Street is hard-boiled is an understatement that wouldn't do the book justice--dark, depressing, steeped in violence, the book is a story arc from Sin City exquisitely rendered in bleak, hard- hitting prose. Balancing cruelty and tenderness, pathos and humor without ever insulting the intelligence of readers, the book features several set pieces which definitely aren't recommended for the faint of heart. At it's core, though, this is a book about redemption and rehabilitation, and, more importantly, about courage and loyalty. A journey into the dark side of human existence, it ultimately conveys a message of hope and optimism.