black champagne

If you love gritty crime noir novels with well developed characters then you will love this book. Frankson delves deep when it comes to uncovering what makes the personalities in the story tick. He pulls no punches either. For example, the lead (McCambridge) is many things. We see vulgarness in him, deceit, duplicitousness and a distinct lack of empathy. On the face of it he is a deeply unlikeable character. There is a lot more to him than that though. From the start we see he is a tortured man, with all the signs of a deep seated personality disorder with numerous vulnerabilities that he, for the most part, succeeds in hiding from others. This makes him much easier to relate to, since we all have our own quirks and our dark sides that manage to slip through the veneer we project for the outside world to see. This stripping back of the characters makes it feel like a very personal read. Raw is the word I would use to describe it.

The dialogue itself is forceful and accompanied by an even stronger narrative, so it’s probably not the kind of story to snuggle up with whilst supping cocoa. In fact you’ll probably need a shot or three of tequila and a side order of nails to chew on.
Frankson knows how to paint a scene for the reader without being too directive, which is not an easy skill to master. The only negatives in my opinion are that it could have done with a bit more editing to catch the odd awkwardly worded or repetitive phrase. Aside from that the story is pacy and exciting and in my view a highly recommended read.

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