Date: November 2003
2001 Edgar Award Nominee for "Best First Novel
by an American Author"
Reviewed: Mass Market Paperback (Reviewed from Uncorrected
it at Amazon
Beverly J. Rowe
Notes: E- violence, sex, language
By Victor Gischler
defines "noir" as being crime fiction featuring hard-boiled,
cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings. That certainly describes
this novel. Charlie "The Hook" Swift is an enforcer and
hit man for an Orlando, Florida hood.
Gischler writes in flawlessly smooth
prose that really keeps you reading, and cheering for this professional
killer. You should hate him, but he's a very sympathetic character
even thought he's crude and cold-blooded.
When a crew of mafia types come up
from Miami and tries to squeeze out Stan's operation, Charlie is
sent to a strip club to wipe out a batch of them. Four of the guys
that Charlie eliminates turn out to be cops, and the suspense escalates
to fever pitch. Charlie manages to grab a briefcase with "cooked"
books and ledgers belonging to the Miami group. That puts him on
their most-wanted list, and most of Stan's boys are killed, with
Stan, himself disappearing. The scuttlebutt is that Stan has been
hoarding money for years, and the rumored multi-million dollar stash
is up for grabs, and may the most bad guy win.
Charlie's romantic interest is the
widow of a man that Charlie and another hit man beheaded with a
loaded cream-filled donut. With violent action and murder on every
page, along with money laundering, FBI agents, an every-man's lovable
mom, a little brother that wants in on the action and witty dialogue,
this book will satisfy the most jaded of mystery/suspense lovers.
It was an exciting and entertaining story that I just couldn't put
down. I hope that Gischler has some sequels in the making. Charlie
became one of my favorite bad guys.