Since I was fortunate enough to get an advance reading copy of Al Guthrie's new novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, I thought I'd let you know what you have to look forward to.
First of all, the book is not, as we like to say, for the squeamish. It's about terrible people who do terrible things to other people, and some of those things are described in detail. Baseball bats are involved, and so are various parts of people's anatomies.
The plot is in the classic Gold Medal tradition, the one where a more or less ordinary guy finds himself in big trouble, and, just when you think it can't get any worse, it gets worse. Much worse.
Joe Hope, who is not a nice man, gets some bad news: his daughter, possibly the only person he cares about, commits suicide. And then his wife is murdered. Joe might not care so much about his wife's death if the cops didn't think he was the killer. He decides to find out who's responsible and deal out a little payback, assuming he can survive.
Kiss Her Goodbye moves fast, and there are plenty of interesting characters to meet along the way. My favorite is Tina, a prostitute who can handle a baseball bat almost as well as Joe. (Check out that great cover.) The climax is as nerve-wracking as anybody could ask for.
I don't know what's going on over there in Ireland and the U.K. Maybe it's something in the water. If it is, I wish I had some of it to drink, myself. (Maybe it's not the water.) Anyway, there are a lot of guys over there who are really bringing noir and hardboiled novels back to their roots, but they're doing it in their own way and in their own styles. Allan Guthrie is right out there in the front of the pack, and if you missed his outstanding debut novel, Two-Way Split, it's time you read it right now. And then, next March, you'll want to be right there at your local newsstand (assuming there is such a thing these days) to grab Kiss Her Goodbye.
And while I'm at it, here's another word of thanks to the good folks at Hard Case Crime for publishing novels like this one, along with other originals and classics. Long may they prosper.