Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ask the Dice, by Ed Lynskey

Tommy Mack has had one real profession in his life,  as a hit man.  Now that Tommy Mack is getting older, he is worrying about things like cholesterol and retirement.Now he finds himself framed for murder, and suspects his boss is behind the frame job.

This book is a great blending of contemporary crime literature and classic noir fiction.  While the language and pacing are more contemporary than pulp novels, the themes and characters are reminiscent of old time noir.  I really enjoyed the character of Tommy Mack.  He is flawed, and that is part of his appeal.  He is resistant to change, likes poetry and jazz, reflects on his life as an adopted child, all while being a contract killer on the run for a murder he actually did not commit.  Talk about a paradox.  

I thought the story was really engaging.  This is not one of those books where you anticipate the plot from the get go; the storyline and characters are complex and surprising.  And for a book centering around a hitman, there was not as much violence as one would expect.  It was much more interesting that the books violence is subtle; to me that is so much more threatening and effective.  

I think fans of noir fiction will really enjoy the book, as well as fans of contemporary crime thrillers, since the book so skillfully weaves a story borrowing from both genres.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

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