I originally reviewed Bust on November 15th, 2006.
Bust is the first collaborative novel in the Hard Case stable and a better paring couldn’t have been had then Ken Bruen and Jason Starr. Sometimes when books are written jointly the two styles don’t blend well and the differences are often noticeable, especially when each contributor has their own unique style as Bruen and Starr do, luckily that’s not the case here.
Starr and Bruen tell us what happens when a business man wants his wife killed. His secretary, whom he is having an affair with, convinces him to hire her boyfriend, a low-level IRA member to do the job. Does this simple hit on an unwanted wife go smoothly or as planned? No, he turns out to be a psychopath and botches the job. The question doesn’t become ‘will it spin out control’ but ‘how far will out of control will it go’.
There is also a reference to Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series that is embedded in Dillon’s past for any who care to search for it.
The writing is tight, smooth and seamless. Each writer’s strengths are showcased in the best possible way. Bust isn’t just hardboiled fiction redux, it is a smartly told caper novel filled to the brim with black humor. The situations that are presented are so absurd and the characters are such dunces that Bust is at times laugh out loud funny.