Review by K. Robert Einarson

Andrew Foley has seen something he was not supposed to see. Now he is fleeing everything he knows to stay with the uncle he never knew in Oklahoma. Uncle Mike also has a past that he has run from as a 'problem solver' for the New York mob and is not to keen to have his nephew show up. But when the first assassin shows up at Mike's farm, he must face his past head-on and bring the fight to people who are after his nephew.

Shotgun Opera is the third hard-boiled novel from Edgar-nominated author Victor Gischler. It is a tight page-turner that has introduced the reader to a story with characters that range from sideshow freaks that are contract killers to a family of assassins.

This kind of story in the hands of less-capable authors would be more B movie filled with self-parody than fiction. But Gischler pulls it off with style. His characters come to life without falling into the obvious stereotypes that you would expect with such characters.

As I read the book, I was also reminded of Duane Swierczynski who has a similar fast paced style.

I particularly found Mike Foley a well-crafted character whose conflicted past with his brother serves to define his reluctance to protect his nephew and helps him to find peace with himself in the end. The ending is bittersweet but satisfying and the epilogue tied it all off nicely.

Shotgun Opera was the first book by Victor Gischler that I have read, but it won't be the last. His engaging style, fascinating characters and black humor makes the story an entertaining and enjoyable read to the very end.


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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