Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Jason Starr: Twisted City

Jason Starr has long been one of my favourite writers, and I can't help but fall in love with his plots. I picked up his Twisted City that I hadn't previously read and showed the back cover copy to my wife, grinning widely and saying: "This sure sounds like my kind of book!" It says: "Times are tough for David Miller, a journalist for a second-rate financial magazine who hates his boss, is tired of supporting his girlfriend's partying lifestyle and recently lost his sister to cancer. But things are about to get much worse."

David loses his wallet in a bar after a failed attempt at picking up a woman, and some days later a woman calls him and says she's got his wallet. David goes to a seedy neighborhood and meets Sue, who seems to be a junkie. She's asking lots of money for David's wallet. David goes to a bank to raise money and when he gets back, he's attacked by Sue's maniacally jealous boyfriend. After that, things really go wrong. It's a hell of a ride for David, and while everything's pretty dark and hopeless for our hero, you can't but laugh at his tribulations. Everything goes worse no matter what David does, even though there's one chance he could make things right, but he blows it too. The end is really, really nasty.

Jason Starr writes and plots with ease, and he's deceptive. Every time you think you miss a hole in the plot, it gets explained. The book moves with a breakneck pace and there's no empty page. This is a brilliant noir novel, once again. It's a damn shame my efforts to get Starr translated in Finnish have proven futile, but I'm still trying.

I read the 2005 printing from No Exit with a pretty bland cover, but their new covers for Starr's backlist are so stupendous (see above) I'm almost thinking I'd buy the whole set.

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