A blog dedicated to reviewing crime novels published by independent presses everywhere.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Review of Hard Feelings
You can divide Jason Starr's novels pretty easily into his early work and his later, more commercial work. His earlier novels are noir stories of doomed characters who are painfully oblivious to their own inevitable destruction, while his more recent work has been more slick and commercial, even if he hasn't quite been able to bring himself to write a happy ending yet. Fake I.D.(Hard Case Crime, 2009) is Starr's third novel, coming between Nothing Personal, and the award winning Hard Feelings, the novel that put Starr on the map. It definitely belongs to Starr's early period.
Fake I.D., which has never appeared in the U.S. before, has a lot in common with Hard Feelings, but it's not quite as accomplished. Tommy Russo is a bartender who wants to be an actor and has a gambling problem. When he is approached by an acquaintance about joining a syndicate to purchase a race horse, he jumps at the chance. Only, Tommy doesn't have the ten thousand dollars needed for the buy in. To get it, he will betray everyone who trusts him.
Russo, unlike Richie Segal in Hard Feelings, does not garner any sympathy from the reader. In Hard Feelings, Segal's downward spiral is precipitated by a face to face encounter with an old acquaintence who molested him. Russo, on the other hand, is narcissistic to a frightening extent without any mitigating factors. He is so repellant that he may make some readers uncomfortable, which is not a criticism, so much as it is a recognition of the fact that Starr is really very good at getting inside the heads of abberant individuals. It's not too difficult to see why this novel would have made U.S. publishers squirm.
Welcome to the Indie Crime Blog. As the name implies, this blog is dedicated to reviews of crime fiction published by independent presses. There are many books published every year that seem to be ignored for a variety of reasons. The books sections of newspapers are getting smaller. Bookstores give more shelf space to more established authors. I could go on, but you get it.My intent is to review books both old and new in the hopes that some deserving writers and worthy publishers will gain some exposure. I can be emailed at IndieCrime-at-gmail-dot-com