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Twisted City Paperback – July 13, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
After fumbling a casual pickup in a bar, financial journalist David Miller realizes his wallet has been lifted, and he quickly descends into Manhattan's underbelly in Starr's sinister black comedy. Life has been rough lately: deeply depressed after the death of his beloved sister, David lost his job with the Wall Street Journal. He hates his new job and despises his younger live-in girlfriend, who seems more and more psychotic every day. But that was yesterday—today he's negotiating in a sweltering closed-in room in an Alphabet City tenement with a junkie hooker who claims she "found" his wallet. David knows she must be in on the sting, and the wallet isn't that important except for his favorite picture of his sister he keeps in it. But from facing mere extortion, it takes only a few hours for the reporter to find himself vertiginously plunged into murder and blackmail. Starr (Tough Luck), an heir of the bleakly noir mantle of Jim Thompson, is a master at portraying New York as a city of the damned. In David he gives his ever-expanding cult readership a normal guy, calmly accepting a ticket to hell, where an ending worthy of Charles Willeford at his most absurd awaits him.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
David Miller is in a funk. He recently slumped down the journalistic food chain from the Wall Street Journal to a finance rag called Manhattan Business. The reason for Miller's fall: his... obsession with his sister only increased after she died of cancer. In addition, the young reporter lost his friends after rejecting their prescient assessment of his girlfriend as "psychotic"--and she's repaid his loyalty by partying the nights away with another man. So when Miller's lost wallet leads to a shakedown by a junkie hooker, he figures it's just another bad episode in the bleak sitcom of his life. But then the hooker's jealous boyfriend dies, potentially putting Miller on the hook for a murder rap. Flames licking at his heels, Miller grimly soldiers through a squalid story that takes on his flattened affect as it navigates the usual sordid twists and dares readers to give a damn. It's the literary equivalent of a Big Mac or Snickers bar: satisfying to devour but immediately forgotten--save for a familiar pang of guilt about straying from healthier fare. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Miller, the speaker, is on surface a journalist coming off the loss of his sister. Like so many modern day city types, Miller compartmentalizes his life. But boy, what he sticks away in those hidden compartments (and wallet)! And don't push this seemingly rational man too far. He is capable of messing you up. But pressures are mounting in David's life, all triggered by the loss (theft) of his wallet. Junkies, blackmailers, a partying girlfriend with a past of her own, you hate to see Miller pick up the phone or open the door to find out what new curve ball is coming his way. Suddenly, carefully erected walls start to dissolve, and other realities begin to bleed through . Miller even starts having conversations with his dead sister Barbara. The voice here is remarkable, and reminiscent of various leading Thompson characters (Lou Ford from the "The Killer Inside Me" comes instantly to mind). One big secret you anticipate right away, but that's not the real surprise. It's the voice - and what it becomes. Kind of like watching a serpent's egg hatch.
You shouldn't read this book (or any noir, really) if you are easily skeeved out. But if you like noir, you'll love this. The author has an original, accessible, extremely engaging style. I was drawn in from the beginning. You might be able to guess some of the themes of the book, or, as a reviewer said below, some of the protagonist's past history. But even if you do, really, that isn't even half the story. The fun is watching the plot unfold and ultimately getting inside - way inside - the narrator's head. I guarantee you won't see plenty of the twists coming, and the ending (even if you suspected it was coming) is written in a way that packs a major, creepy, darkly funny punch.
I liked this book so much that I came back here to put all the rest of the author's books in my Amazon cart. If you like dark fiction, mysteries, and old-time noir in particular, check out this book. Starr does the masters proud. Can't wait to read more of him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My issue with this novel was the ending.Kiss Me, Judas trilogy by William Christopher Baer.Read more