Sunday, September 07, 2008

Breaking Cover by J.D. Rhoades

In our on-going series on new American hardboiled: J.D. Rhoades's Breaking Cover, his newest novel.

I haven't actually read any of Rhoades's earlier novels, with the series character Jack Keller, but if this is any indication of what they're like, then I'll definitely will read them later on. Breaking Cover seems a bit to be an attempt to break through to more lucrative thriller markets, but this is still definitely hardboiled.

The pace is fast and there are no empty scenes. The lead character, a mystery man called Tony Wolf, is not at all unlike Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm, one of the toughest heroes of hardboiled writing. He doesn't fuss about, he acts and doesn't much talk about it. (Even though the major part of the narrative is his own monologue!) The bad guys in Breaking Cover are really bad, but somehow Rhoades makes them seem human, even though you can't say they are very likable. Some might say that the violence in the book is gratuitous at times, and even I had to look away in some scenes, but I won't complain.

While I hadn't read any of Rhoades's novels, I had published a flash story by him in one of my fanzines, Ässä, in its first issue in 2007. The story, "Hundred", was first published in Flashing in the Gutters that's sadly been gone for over a year now. It's a perfect piece of redneck noir Rhoades practices in his novels.
Some of Rhoades's earlier novels are available in cheap paperbacks via AdLibris.


JD Rhoades said...

Thnak you so much for that, Juri! And the edition of Assa with 'Hundred" in it has a prominent place on display in my office.

Juri said...

That's nice to hear, JD!