Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review of Killing Mum

Allan Guthrie is the latest author to pen a novella for Five Leaves Press's Crime Express series. Killing Mum brings Guthrie back to some of his characters from Savage Night. Specifically, it puts death broker Carlos Morales in a tough spot. He's in the business of arranging to have people killed, so it's no surprise when he gets an envelope full of cash and a name. What is a surprise is the name is his mother's. Carlos can't figure why someone would want his mother dead. The only person he knows who hates his mother is his wife, and she's also the only person he knows who knows his mother is his mother. So, naturally he's suspicious. He sets up a little test, but things don't go as planned.

Killing Mum is quick and dirty read. It's probably about an hour's investment all told. It's remarkable for it's thematic similarity to Guthrie's latest novel Slammer. Characters in both novels have the the same sort of reaction to traumatic experiences. Guthrie spends quite a bit of time mining familial strife in his novels, so there's nothing here that will surprise anyone familiar with his work. It would be interesting to know, however, if this work was a dry run for Slammer, or Guthrie is revisiting a theme here. Killing Mum is rather tame by Guthrie standards, and it didn't quite pack the punch of Ray Banks' Crime Express entry Gun, but it's a solid effort nevertheless. It may serve as a good entry point for those who haven't read Guthrie's work yet. If you like this, then the novels may be for you.

And yes, the Kindle edition artwork I found on Amazon has a squirrel. I'm just as puzzled as you.

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