Bruen, Ken and Jason Starr. Bust. New York: Hard Case, 2006. 254pp.
Wow, I gotta find a way to read more of these Hard Case Crime novels. So far, I've read three (first two here and here) and they've all been absolutely fantastic. This one, Bust by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, is the first of their original novels I've read, the other two being classic reprints.
So, what's the story? Well, it's a tried and true hard boiled plot. Man is cheating on his wife with his secretary and they plan to have her killed and get married and live happily ever after. Only this one is different. All the characters are fatally flawed, all pretty well despicable, all more than a little unhinged. So, as the headlong train wreck of the plot explodes into double cross, followed by triple cross, followed by quadruple cross, the pitch black hole humour becomes pervasive. You don't know whether to laugh or cry, and by the end it doesn't really matter too much. Tragedy? Comedy? Human nature.
Whatever -- this is one great read. I'm going to hunt down some more of the solo work by Bruen and Starr, that's for sure. Oh yeah, and some more Hard Case books too.