Month: August 2013

Monthly Review – August 2013

Posted August 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

death in the afternoonAs we come to the end of August, it is time once again to have a look at the month’s reading. This month the book club read the non-fiction sports/travel book Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway. While I am against bullfighting, this was an interesting dip into a sport I had no idea what was happening. Next month we are reading one of my wife’s favourite books; The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

I feel very proud of my reading this month; I read some great books and hope this trend continues. Fifteen books read and some of my highlights include Fadeout, Oryx and Crake, The Third Man, The Unknown, Kiss Me First and We Need New Names. There was just so many great books and I feel like I didn’t have any wasted reading time (with the exception of The Suite Life) but the biggest thrill for this month was The Machine by James Smythe a wonderfully dark and complex novel that really deserves more attention.

My Reading Month


Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

Posted August 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Death in the Afternoon by Ernest HemingwayTitle: Death in the Afternoon (Goodreads)
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Published: Scribner, 1932
Pages: 416
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: eBook

Buy: AmazonBook Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Death in the Afternoon is a non-fiction book by Ernest Hemingway that explores the ceremony and traditions of Spanish bullfighting. Looking at the history and the culture behind bullfighting, the book also explores the dangers and fears being faced. Still considered one of the best books ever written about bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon explores the sport by one of its aficionados.

This is an interesting book, not something I would read normally but I did enjoy it. While I am morally opposed to bullfighting I didn’t have any really knowledge of the sport and culture behind it. So I went into this book with an open mind and a little hesitant. I had never had a good experience with Hemingway in the past; granted I’ve only read one of his novels (The Old Man and the Sea) but it was enough to never go back. I know this is not a good reason not to return but I have to admit I did enjoy the writing styles.

Ernest Hemingway has a very descriptive writing style which makes for some interesting insights; but sometimes too much. I get the impression that he is using humour in some of his writing but it’s so obscure that it either goes over my head or is just downright weird. I know Hemingway was a rather unusual man and had an interesting life but he isn’t someone that I think I will ever understand or connect with in any way. While I’m against bullfighting, Hemingway seems to be an advocate towards it and often wants it to be more violent and deadly.

You have to understand that Ernest Hemingway is an arrogant, sexist, pompous ass and it often comes through in his writing, so you have to take everything he says with a huge grain of salt. I found myself disagreeing with him all too often but still interested in what he was saying. I went into this book knowing that Hemingway and I weren’t going to get along at times, which was lucky because I was ready to throw out any of his opinions that didn’t align with mine. I did find it interesting how he kept using bullfighting as a metaphor for art and Spain; I don’t know if I agree with this but he seemed was be determined to make this point.

While I’m still opposed to bullfighting, I now have a whole lot more information about the topic; possibly too much. Hemingway’s writing style was enough to make me willing to try something else of his (if I find something good) and this was an interesting and different reading experience. I don’t read enough non-fiction, let alone travel or sports writing so this was a book way out of left field. I’m determined to read more non-fiction now and I hope that I manage to get through at least one a month. Also interesting to see how this review turned out; I’m never know how to approach a non-fiction review and I think I did alright here.


The Third Man by Graham Greene

Posted August 29, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic, Thriller / 0 Comments

The Third Man by Graham GreeneTitle: The Third Man (Goodreads)
Author: Graham Greene
Narrator: Martin Jarvis
Published: Penguin, 1943
Pages: 180
Genres: Classic, Thriller
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

American western writer Rollo Martins arrives in Post-World War II Vienna at the request of his childhood friend, Harry Lime. Lime has a job for him but when Martins arrives, he soon finds out that his friend has died. Convinced that Harry Lime’s death was no accident, Martins starts his own investigation, which leads him on a hunt to find the other witness, The Third Man.

If you are a loyal listener of The Readers or follow Simon Savidge’s blog or twitter you may know he recently lost his grandmother. To pay tribute to the memory of Dorothy Savidge he has asked people to read something by Graham Greene, as he was her favourite author. Greene for Gran (or on twitter #GreeneForGran) was born and I took this as an opportunity to try my first Graham Greene book, as well as join in this beautiful memorial to a fellow book lover.

Now The Third Man is an interesting book; it is actually written in preparation to writing the screenplay to what will become a film noir classic. Graham Greene wrote this novella and then converted it into the screenplay. I’m not sure how or why the original novella ended up being published but I suspect that the huge success of the movie may have had something to do with it. So when reading The Third Man you are basically reading the novelisation of the movie; everything is exactly the same.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, the movie was fantastic but then again I’m a fan of Orson Welles (Citizen Kane is the greatest movie of all time) so I might be biased. Who am I kidding, it’s not bias; The Third Man is a classic film noir movie and if you haven’t seen it then you are missing out. It’s hard to review a novella that is exactly the same as the movie, there may not be any point to reading the book if you can watch the movie but I wanted to see how Graham Greene wrote and I think I’m a fan.

What I found fascinating about the novella was the fact that the entire story is told from the perspective of Major Calloway and not the Rollo Martins. Just a quick side note here Rollo Martins name was changed to Holly Martins in the movie just in case you thought I made a mistake there. So I look back at the movie and try to imagine The Third Man from the perspective of Calloway and it just doesn’t seem right, but it works really well for the book. Just another example of what a novel can do that film can’t and gives the novella something unique that you wouldn’t get from the movie.

This only took me about an hour to read (I read slow) and while it is pretty much the exact same thing as the movie, I’m glad I read it. It gave me a sense of Graham Greene’s style and I know what to expect when I try another book (any suggestions). I loved the movie and I think the book is a great companion for fans of The Third Man. Now I want to rewatch the movie, sounds like a good idea right?


The Site for Library Recommendations

Posted August 28, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

library_reads_logo_website

I’m not normally one to write a post promoting another bookish site but I can’t help but want to tell people. Library Reads is a site where regularly employed U.S. public librarians share their recommendations for soon to be released books. I know there are many sites out there dedicated to book recommendations but what I like about this one is that it’s the librarians offering some suggestions. Libraries are such an essential service for a book lover and I know that most public libraries out there are trying to get back into offering the service of book recommending. Library Reads may just be a good starting point for both book lovers and other libraries out there.

How it works is basically it takes the ARCs being submitted on Edelweiss (with the Organization Type “Library – Public”) and works out the 10 most recommended books that will be released in that month and use them to create their list. As these are all ARCs, it will tell readers what to look out for and helps libraries get a sense of what might be good to stock. I’m sure there could be other uses for this site but I like the idea that as you watch this site you might start recognising librarians whose opinions you might trust.

I’m not sure how long this site has been around but currently their September list is up with Library Reads favourite going to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (an author I want to try sometime). Other interesting books on the list include Night Film by Marisha Pessl, The Returned by Jason Mott and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. With each book there is an excerpt from one of the librarians’ reviews so you get an idea of what the book would be like. I know the books I’ve listed here are probably books you’ve already heard of and possibly even read but there are some books there that I’ve never heard of; I think they want to cover all genres. I love the idea of getting an email every month with librarian recommendations so I’ve subscribed to this site. I’ll be interested to see how well it goes and hope maybe one day Australia has a similar service.


Miami Blues by Charlies Williford

Posted August 27, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

Miami Blues by Charlies WillifordTitle: Miami Blues (Goodreads)
Author: Charlies Williford
Series: Hoke Moseley #1
Published: Penguin, 1984
Pages: 284
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

After landing in Miami, Freddy Frenger Jr. (or Junior as he prefers to be called) steals three wallets and begins to plan his new life. While leaving the airport he snatches a suitcase and leaves a corpse of a Hare Krishna behind. Detective Hoke Moseley is on the case; chasing Junior and his new hooker girlfriend through luxury hotels and the suburban streets of Miami.

If this sounds really familiar then you’ve probably seen the 1990 movie of the same name starring Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh. While there are some major differences to the two, the majority of the book is exactly the same. I’m a little disappointed when I found out this was the first in the Hoke Moseley series, because I always thought of the detective as a supporting role. In the movie Junior steals Moseley’s badge and starts pretending to be a cop to con people; this was the best part of the movie. Sadly in the book there isn’t much of that going on.

Charlies Williford is an author of fiction, poetry, an autobiography, and literary criticism but he is best known for his hard-boiled writing. I think it is weird that he was a poet and literary critic as well as pulp writer, but then again I really shouldn’t be. It’s just an interesting fact about the author.  When you think 1980’s hard-boiled novels, Miami Blues is probably going to be one of the top nominations on that list. Charlies Williford was such a prolific writer, with over forty novels published, it is kind of sad that he is best known for the Hoke Moseley series that he wrote very late in his life. I wonder what some of his other books were like, there seems to be a whole lot of hard-boiled novels in the 1950’s and 1960’s that look interesting.

This book is an example of the noir sub-genre Florida glare which is basically a crime novel set in Florida where the heat and the culture play a role in the story as well. Noir is typically associated to LA and there have been some writers out there that wanted to depict Florida as the perfect location for crime stories as well. Some examples of this include the Travis McGee (by John D. MacDonald), Jack Ryan (by Elmore Leonard), and Dexter Morgan (by Jeff Lindsay) series and I’m sure many more. It is an interesting concept though do we really need another genre? I like how the heat of Florida plays a part in the book and the environment is almost like a supporting character.

This was a quick read and one of the rare cases where I think I prefer the movie over the book. I wonder if there are any more noir novels where a character pretends to be a cop in order to con people; I’m sure there are plenty out there, I like the concept and would like to read more of them. I think I’ll have to try another Charlies Williford, maybe something earlier. Does anyone want to recommend me a good Charlies Williford novel?


Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Posted August 24, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic, Erotica / 0 Comments

Tropic of Cancer by Henry MillerTitle: Tropic of Cancer (Goodreads)
Author: Henry Miller
Published: Harper Collins, 1934
Pages: 336
Genres: Classic, Erotica
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Tropic of Cancer is probably best known for being about sex, a book that was banned for over thirty years. An autobiographical novel of a struggling writer living in Paris in a community of bohemians. A fictionalised account of Miller’s life living underground, with prostitutes, painters and other writers.

This is an odd novel, not necessarily good but a literary landmark. Without Henry Miller we may never have books like Lolita, Naked Lunch, A Sport and a Pastime and even Tampa. On the plus side, we may never have Fifty Shades of Grey. This novel pushed the boundaries of literature in the 1930’s and found itself being banned, which developed a cult following that helped influence the future of literature. I tend to think, much like Lady’s Chatterley’s Lover, if it wasn’t for the banning of the book, this novel wouldn’t be a classic; it would have just faded away into obscurity.

There are some advantages to reading this book, there are the autobiographical elements but then Miller focuses on his friends and colleagues. Almost off topic, like he is commentating on what is happening in their lives. Then it gets a little more complex because there is a stream of consciousness reflecting on the occasional epiphany. The whole narrative gets really confusing with its non-linear approach, the tangents and reflections. It makes the whole book hard to read and in the end not really enjoyable.

I can’t help but compare this novel to The Dud Avocado, the sexual adventures in Paris is similar but Tropic of Cancer wasn’t as interesting and a female lead makes for a less sex obsessed narrative and tends to focus on life abroad as well. I can’t help thinking just how narcissistic Henry Miller must have been with all those autobiographical novels of his life; do people still do that? Or is this just a thing of the past, pushing the boundaries.

I have to give Henry Miller one thing; he doesn’t hold back, he will expose the good, the bad and the disturbing parts of his life. If I ever wrote a book like this (which I have no interest in doing anyway) I would be more inclined to hold back, to paint myself in a more favourable light; Miller doesn’t do that at all. There isn’t much I can say about this book, it’s about sex and that is about it. The stream of consciousness part was interesting but I still find that difficult to read. I would probably tell people to skip this and read The Dud Avocado or something similar but for the book snobs (like myself) if you do read this book I hope you get something out of it apart from the historical significance of a book like Tropic of Cancer.


Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

Posted August 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Questions of Travel by Michelle de KretserTitle: Questions of Travel (Goodreads)
Author: Michelle de Kretser
Published: Allen & Unwin, 2012
Pages: 528
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Laura Fraser is an artistic Australian, who lost her mother at a very early age and her father was cold and distinct towards her, as was her brother. On the other side of the world Ravi Mendes’ life was almost the complete opposite to Laura, but still struggles in life at times; currently he is determined to break into the computer science industry. Alternating from one character to the other, Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel explores why we are all influenced by travel.

Questions of Travel won the Miles Franklin award this year but if it wasn’t for my book club I would never have read it and I think that might have been a mistake. This novel is almost a post-modernist novel in the experimental way the author approached it. I read this book as if the two characters are sitting me down and going through their photo album and telling the story related to each picture. Slowly we get the full story but there are a lot of pieces we have to fill in for ourselves. The reason I thought this was just the way it was written and you have these really short chapters but every now and then you get a long one. Also the dates on each chapter become more specific as we got closer to the present day, almost like the character remembers the year rather than the decade now.

While reading this novel I got the impression that Michelle de Kretser was trying to explore the whole philosophy behind travel; why we do it? What we love about it? That feeling you get being in a strange country. This was a really interesting approach she took and really worked well with the experimental writing style. The author used to write for the Lonely Planet and throughout this novel you can see her small digs at these books and the bureaucracy behind them. Little things like this really helped lighten the mood for the novel.

Questions of Travel has some beautiful language throughout the book and you find yourself really taking the time to enjoy the book (even though I didn’t have much of that before my next book club meeting). This novel demanded more time than I gave it and I might have missed so much but due to time restrictions I had to power through it. There were times I found some great quotes and I wanted to write them down but I was in too much of a hurry (also I never seem to do that but am trying to make more of an effort).

The novel is both thought provoking and emotional; you’ll experience the highs and lows of the two main characters and even if you have found a favourite, both characters offer interesting insights to life and travel. Also on a positive note, this novel also offers one of the best opening chapters I’ve read in recent times, it comes out of nowhere and smacks you in the face. I spent days trying to decide if I liked this book and what I liked about it and that right there is why I enjoyed it; like Slaughterhouse-Five the time spent afterwards thinking about it is what I will remember more than the book itself. I’m not sure if I would recommend this novel to many people, you’d have to be willing to read experimental or post-modernist novels to really enjoy what Michelle de Kretser is doing.


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

Posted August 21, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael ChabonTitle: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Goodreads)
Author: Michael Chabon
Narrator: David Colacci
Published: Fourth Estate, 2000
Pages: 659
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay follows the story of two Jewish cousins. Joe Kavalier is an artist that escapes occupied Czech to America where he meets writer Sam Clay. During the golden age of comics Kavalier and Clay become major players in the industry creating many comic book heroes including The Escapist. The superhero is a Nazi-busting saviour who liberates the oppressed around the world.

I’ve read Michael Chabon before and the thing I really enjoyed about his novels is that they are full of intertextual goodness. With The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, it blends his literary style with elements of alternative history and noir. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay blends with elements of the comic book genre. This is what impresses me the most with Chabon’s style and makes me keen to read The Telegraph Avenue (which I hope blends elements of music into his style). I wonder if all his books are full of intertextuality and will love to find some other novelists that do this; it really works for me but maybe it’s just my love for literary fiction and the genres he blends with it.

There is so much more going on with the novel. The Escapist is used to play out all Kavalier’s fantasies of being a magician/escape artist but he uses the comic books to spread his propaganda towards the Nazis. Most of this novel is set before World War II in America before the world really knew the extent of what the Third Reich were up to. Michael Chabon is a Jewish novelist and his heritage seems important to him and this comes through in his novel.

This novel deals with so many different literary themes; escape from oppression, coming of age, family and relationships. Just writing that sentence makes me think that Chabon might have over done it but really this book comes together beautifully. I don’t often use the terms like magnum opus and tour de force but having read the novel and people’s impressions of this book, it really seems to fit.

Kavalier and Clay become legends in the comic book world and as the world and industry changes, they are repeatedly asked to change and conform but they never compromise. They had a clear message they wanted to say and they refused to change that message. I’m impressed with everything about this book from the blending of comic books and its culture, Jewish mysticism and world history to the character development, proses and my overall opinion of the novel.

If you’ve never read a Michael Chabon novel then I recommend it; I’m not saying start with this novel but look for one with a theme that interests you. Out of the two I’ve read, I’ve been impressed with them both but I have to say The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is masterfully crafted and deserves all the praise it received. I have Telegraph Avenue on the shelf and I’m interested in trying Wonder Boys soon as well. The Escapist was made into a comic by Dark Horse Comics but I think it was part of a promotion for this book. Also the film rights for the book have been sold but with the luck it’s been having I’m doubtful it will ever be made.


Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Your Life as a Book Blogger Easier

Posted August 20, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

toptentuesdayIt’s Tuesday again which means time for another round of Top Ten Tuesday; I like joining in of this meme because I have a set topic to work with. Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogger meme that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the theme is: Top Ten Things That Make Your Life as a Book Blogger Easier. This is an interesting topic and took me a while to compile a list of then but here you go.

1. Goodreads
As a book blogger I want to be able to look at what is being read by others, what is trending and what people think of the books. I’ve found all the book bloggers I follow are on Goodreads as well and it makes it easier to see what books are trending so you can get onto that book before the public.

2. Twitter
Out of all the social networks, for a book blogger, Twitter is the essential one. I create lists of authors, publishers, readers and book bloggers; this way I always have my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the world of literature. Also follow me @knowledgelost or my blog @litexploration on Twitter (shameless self-promotion).

3. The Library
I know I will never be able to buy all the books I want and this year I went on a semi book buying ban (only allowing myself to buy book club books and essentials). The idea was to reduce the amount of unread books on my shelf but instead it taught me to use the library more.

4. Bloglines
It was a sad day when Google Reader died, bloglines isn’t as good but it was the best replacement I’ve found. As a blogger I want to connect with other bloggers so instead of getting bombarded with emails a RSS reader is a life saver.

5. eReader
I know paperback books are better but as a book blogger I feel I will run out of bookcase space quickly, so an eReader is a great way to store books. I also like the continence of being able to carry a lot of books around at once. An eReader will also be helpful for my next point.

6. NetGalley and Edelweiss
Both a blessing and a curse, NetGalley and Edelweiss are great ways to request digital ARCs to read and review. When I started as a book blogger, I never used these sites but I’ve started to use them more lately; just have to remind myself not to go overboard.

7. The Reading Room
I’m not sure if this is the case with other countries but as an Australian book blogger, The Reading Room has been a great source for physical and digital ARC’s. They have a first in first serve approach and all they ask in return is for you to post the review on their site as well. Similar to Goodreads but useful if you want ARCs.

8. Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin
As a self-hosted WordPress user there are heaps of usefully plugins to make my life easier but as a book blogger the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin is the biggest time saver. Takes a little extra time creating a post because I fill out the extra details but it auto updates my review list and gave me a whole lot of other useful advantages.

9. Wikipedia
I know it is probably the worst place to go for research but a quick search will give me a whole lot of useful information. I tend to use Wikipedia as a starting point for researching but if I only need a little info, it tends to be the default destination.

10. Bloomsbury Australia
I know it’s weird to have a publisher on a list of “Things That Make Your Life as a Book Blogger” but they have been wonderfully and encouraging. They were one of the first to approach me with an offer of ARCs and seem to be one of the biggest supporters of Australian book bloggers. They deserve to be recognised because they do great work.

I’m sure there are more I could list but there you have it, my top ten. I look forward to see what other people list, maybe I will find some useful tools.


Fadeout by Joseph Hansen

Posted August 18, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

Fadeout by Joseph HansenTitle: Fadeout (Goodreads)
Author: Joseph Hansen
Series: Dave Brandstetter #1
Published: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970
Pages: 187
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Dave Brandstetter is an insurance investigator who is hired to investigate a death claim of a local celebrity, whose car plunged off a bridge in a storm. In the absence of a body the insurance company needs to send their own investigator before handing over $150,000 (works out to be about $900,000 by today’s standards). As the investigation continues Brandstetter is convinced that Fox Olson is still alive and he must find him before the would-be killer does.

Dave Brandstetter embodies the tough, no-nonsense persona of most classic Hard-boiled detectives with one major difference; he’s openly gay. As most people know, I have a love for the hard-boiled detective and I’m always looking for new and interesting takes on this genre. I’ve found that in Joseph Hansen’s Fadeout. There are a few reasons why I plan to continue the series and I thought rather than talk about the book, it would be nice to mention what will make me continue with the other eleven novels.

First of all, I’ve never read a pulp novel like this before; a homosexual protagonist would have been controversial in 1970. This would have been near the beginning of the gay pride movement and Hansen must have gone through a lot of hardship with writing this character and being a homosexual as well. With all the stigma and prejudices towards homosexuality back then (and let’s face it, it’s still around today) it was refreshing to see a protagonist who is proud and comfortable with his sexuality (I get sick of seeing homosexuals in literature being portrayed as unstable or disturbed) .

From the very first page of Fadeout, we find out that Dave Brandstetter has just lost a long term partner to cancer, so now we have this fresh new angle as well. Joseph Hansen has been quoted in saying the following about this topic;

“There was room in the form to say important things about men and women and how they cope with life.”

So we have this protagonist that is both tough as nails and maybe cynical of life after this tragic loss but we also get to watch him deal with his grief. Throughout Fadeout you witness Dave Brandstetter struggle with loneliness, sexual desire and even alienation and you really get an idea of just how hard it must be for him. It’s something I don’t think I’ve seen in a hard-boiled novel before and it seems to work really well, I feel for Brandstetter and have a better understanding of just what makes this man tick and that connection makes me want to continue the series.

Lastly, something I didn’t see too much of in Fadeout but I feel like this would be an element that Joseph Hansen would work into the series; I can see it coming. Dave Brandstetter is an insurance investigator, in most hard-boiled novels you have the detective hired by someone close to the victim to solve the puzzle. In this series you have the investigator working against the people; working for the insurance company. Mix that with people’s prejudices and you have a protagonist that will have to struggle to solve any mystery because people will close up and refuse to talk to the man. I like the whole idea; sort of like an anti-hero, he wants to solve the crime or mystery but he has the best interest of the insurance company in mind and not the people. If Hansen uses this throughout the rest of the series, it could really open it up to some interesting and new situations.

Judging by the difficulty of getting a hold of this book, I’m inclined to think this series is cult classic but then you look at the blurbs on the book and think this is a series I should have known about and really is a classic in its own right. I’m sure it will be difficult to get a hold of the other eleven books but I think it will be worth the effort. I want to see if my predictions are correct and also see what Joseph Hansen does with the series. Highly recommend Fadeout; it has the makings of a classic hard-boiled novel but then you have added elements to make it stand out.