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Setup On Front Street Paperback – May 9, 2011
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"Dennis writes true noir." -- VICKI HENDRICKS, author of Cruel Poetry
"...tight, to the point, like a line drawing..." -- Noir Journal
About the Author
After thirty years as a professional musician (piano), Mike Dennis left Key West and moved to Las Vegas in 2006 to become a professional poker player. He turned to writing when his first novel, The Take, was picked up by a publisher in 2009.
His next book, Setup On Front Street, was the first of a series of Key West Nocturnes, standalone noir novels. These books will lift the veil on Key West and reveal it as a true noir city, on a par with Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Miami. The Ghosts Of Havana is the second book in that set. The third, Man-Slaughter, is now available, and the fourth, The Guns Of Miami, will be coming in 2013.
Mike has also introduced the Jack Barnett/Las Vegas series, about a reluctant ex-private investigator living in Sin City, USA. The first entry in that series, a novelette called Temptation Town, is now available. The second installment, Hard Cash, also a novelette, is currently available, as is the third entry, a full novel called The Downtown Deal.
Mike also has a collection of short stories, Bloodstains On The Wall. In addition, his stories have been published in A Twist Of Noir, Mysterical e, Powder Burn Flash, Slow Trains, and The Wizards Of Words 2009 Anthology.
In addition, Mike has an experimental rockabilly novel called Cadillac's Comin', a hard tale of a one-hit wonder who recorded for Sun Records in the chaotic early days of rock & roll.
In December, 2010, Mike moved back to Key West, where he enjoys year-round island living with his wife Yleana, whom he married on a warm December night in 2012 on the rooftop of an apartment building in Havana, Cuba.
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It’s a well-paced, noir-ish tale of corruption and mobsters and a well meaning ex-con. Dennis places us in Florida’s Key West in 1991, good timing I thought - after the flashy 80’s but before there was much tech around, so criminals are still dealing in safes and paper files and fixed telephones, almost like it was the 50’s. I don’t know anything about Florida or Key West, I’m Australian and I’ve barely been to the States at all, but Dennis provides enough smart description to set the atmosphere and the rest I could fill in from what I’ve seen in movies and TV.
The story is tight and moves along, there’s no wasted scenes or rambling here. Felt like the author knew what he was doing and was taking me somewhere good, and there’s enough action mixed up with pauses for suspense.
The main character Don Roy felt a bit distant at first but you get to know him and there’s a small cast of other characters, not deep but distinctive in their way. The men are hard, the women are, well, victims or vixens, but then there are only a couple of female characters in this one.
It’s a short novel but the right length for the story it is telling. Very much longer and it could have started dragging.
I’m taking off a star as a couple of points didn’t feel too believable to me – one character’s decision to pay a huge part of their weekly pay check to another character who mistreated them, apparently with little compulsion, and also the climactic confrontation seemed too neat and easy. Overall I wanted to see the main character really get in up to his neck, while things seemed to come together a bit nicely.
Anyway I’ll be picking up the next one by this author.
Oh, how naive I was. I never considered there could be any kind of underground Russian mafia involved in such a romantic site with beautiful Palm trees, old homes, and chickens running around the streets "free as birds".
I realize this author takes literary license with this story but in retrospect I realize all of the suspense, shootings, talk of setting up Cuba as a holiday site are all part of the suspense and intrigue of the story. Now I wish I had been less of a cruiser but more of a person with intrigue on my mind.
Interesting story with some strong characters. Read the book and identify the bold people.
Read the book. You will enjoy it!
His interaction with individuals belies his language. the one star reviewers focus on foul language and racism.
This is a fine book of the noir genre and the elements of the plot and characters to make it noir seem to irritate the two star reviewers.
If one can look beneath realistic language and the plot one finds a well edited book with few if any grammar and spelling errors.
The protagonist rescues his woman from the clutches of the rich amoral town fathers in melodramatic tradition.
The subplots are interesting and some are unresolved. The book is set in a decade when HIV disease was rampant and almost always fatal.
The author ignores this risk to the prostitute beloved by the protagonist. Well he had been away for three years.
Finding Norma working as a prostitute to pay her boyfriend the mayor, BK's gambling debts, leads him to going after BK and his father. Norma is better than that, and his girl.
Great suspense and murder, along with a plot to take down the Whitneys so he can be with Norma and get his money. Can he do it?