East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Hard Boiled & Pulp: Kiss Me When I’m Dead

Yesterday I finished my final revision of my non fiction book (yeah, I know,I told you that already) and I sold a pitch for another book (I am waiting to sign the contract, so it’s still very hush-hush). So to celebrate I went and bought me a few books, and because sometimes the Amazon algorithm is your friend, I ended up with a Kindle-full of (mostly free) books.
Nice and smooth.

On top of that, I got a bout of insomnia, and so spent the whole night reading, going cover-to-cover through Kiss me when I’m dead, Dominic Piper’s first book in the PI Daniel Beckett series.
And it was quite fun.

Set in contemporary London, the novel follows the former insurance investigator Daniel Becket as he’s hired by an arms dealer to track down his missing daughter, a girl that has a history of drugs and dangerous liaisons.
It won’t be an easy job.

The general set-up is very classic and very pulp-style – Beckett is an ultra-competent guy that pulls all the chicks and kicks ass with the best, and if the tone of the first-person narration is halfway between The Rockford Files and Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole novels, the mood is very much Mickey Spillane, and in terms of action and feats, we are dangerously close to Remo Williams‘ territory.

But Piper manages to pull it, with the simple expedient of making his main character strangely mysterious. Beckett has something to hide, some sort of secret history that colors his background and justifies his exceptional skills without ever explaining anything.
Indeed, we are dragged along the story more by the curiosity of finding out who’s really Beckett than by the actual mystery – that is somewhat easy to patch together.

All in all a solid hard boiled read, with enough stylish violence for those that like that sort of thing, and an entertaining, intriguing main character.

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Turntable: In Phil Marlowe’s Shoes

The first post in the Turntable series was so consistently ignored, one would be tempted to just close the lid of the record player and forget about the whole thing, but I actually like the idea of talking, here on my blog, of a different form of storytelling… and then I prepared a banner for the series!
I can’t use the banner just once, right?
I might as well do another post and see if something changes…

The old Ricordi music store in Via Roma/Piazza CLN, Turin, was on three floors – at ground floor they had pop and rock records, downstairs in the basement they had classic and opera, and upstairs they kept jazz and blues. If you happened to visit the store on a Saturday afternoon, you’d get crowded in the pop and rock section, but in the classic and jazz departments there would be precious little people, and air conditioning.

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