Review by K. Robert Einarson

It's the age-old story:
Man has affair with secretary and decides to kill wife
Secretary recommends sociopathic hit man to kill wife
Hit man is secret boyfriend of secretary and together they plan to kill man
With a storyline like that, you know it will have a happy ending...

This modern take on the classic noir story was crafted by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr. It has a fresh angle on the subject that offers numerous surprising twists, wonderfully flawed characters with dark humor, crisp dialogue and a very realistic setting. Having read other works by Bruen, I had an idea what to expect from this collaboration. But this book exceeded my expectations by taking both author's strengths and creating an exciting ride that kept me hooked until the last page.

The cast of characters are the strongest elements. The self-made, self-important and self-deluded Max Fisher, the opportunistic and yet naïve Angela Petrakos, Max's secretary who is willing to do anything to achieve her dreams and Thomas Dillon, the deeply disturbed IRA outsider who's erratic behavior makes him a menace to everyone, including himself. Each one has brief moments when you almost feel sympathy for them despite everything you know about them.

Also watch for SLIDE, the sequel to BUST available October 2007 from Hard Case Crime.


Kevin Einarson is the publisher of Spinetingler Magazine. His short fiction has appeared in Mouth Full of Bullets, Flashing in the Gutters and Spinetingler.

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