Friday, April 13, 2007

Hard Man -- Allan Guthrie

Because Duane Swierczynski has declared this Allan Guthrie Week, I thought I might as well go ahead and say a few words about Hard Man. I was going to wait until closer to the street date, but what the heck. You can pre-order it now, which might be a smart move. I predict that a lot of people will be talking about the book even before it's published.

I'd call it blue-collar noir. The Baxter family is looking for a bit of help, as the men (father and two sons) don't feel they can protect the only woman, May, from her brutal husband. So they try to hire Pearce (readers of earlier Guthrie novels will have met him before) as a bodyguard. Pearce isn't interested, so they try to persuade him by devious means involving his cute little dog.

Yes, there's a cute dog. But Guthrie doesn't play the cute card like anybody else might. Trust me on this.

It won't surprise you to learn that things don't go well for Pearce, or for anybody else. Especially one guy, who's subjected to . . . , well, I'm not even going to tell you except to say that the word macabre applies. You might want to put the book down and stop reading, but you won't be able to. Or I wasn't.

And did I mention that the book is funny? You may hate yourself for laughing, or you might look back in horror at what you laughed at, but I suspect you'll still find it funny. Or maybe it's just me.

This is one of those books that makes you wonder what the writer will come up with next. Check it out.


Sarah Weinman said...

Not just you. I laughed A LOT reading this and didn't hate myself at all. If you can't be absurd about noir what can you be absurd about?

Unknown said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only sick-o in the crowd.