Monday, August 27, 2012
3 to Kill by Jean-Patrick Manchette
I so love this book. Originally published in 1976 and republished by City Light Books of San Francisco in 2002, it seems the blueprint for some of the best cinema of the past twenty years. It has the unmistakable tongue-in-cheek wildly casual violence of a Quentin Tarantino film like Get Shorty but does it with such savoir faire that one knows this author is a true original. I note the author died a young man in 1995, but he wrote for the cinema also and indeed many scenes in this delightfully concise crime novel seem to contain their own stage direction.
A successful, disdainful sales executive finds himself first to the scene of a car wreck, and having delivered the injured motorist to the hospital, finds himself pursued by hitmen.
It was such a relief to find myself in the hands of a master after a string of effortful new novels: slightly over 100 pages in length, it offers more delight than many do with three times the length. This is as much a classic as a Dashiell Hammett mystery and one hopes and expects Manchette is better known in France than he is abroad.
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