Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sinner Man - Lawrence Block

Sent to me by Titan Books UK in exchange for an honest review

Book Info: Hardback, Crime/Noir, 239pp

Buy/Read Now (links):
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Rating: 4.5/5

Audience: Readers looking for a fast paced Noir thriller with mature content and an impressive plot.

Summed up in a few words: Aggressive. Release. Identity. Freedom.

First Impressions: I picked this book up to read a few pages to get a feel for the writing and... I didn't stop reading till the end. The actual book is only 187 pages long so it is a relatively easy read and the content is so bold and addictive that time just flew by and I was at the end before I knew it. Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a review copy of the book, I now have another author to binge on.

Author Bio: Lawrence Block has been writing acclaimed mystery and suspense fiction for half a century. His most recent novels include The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons, featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr, Hit Me, featuring Keller, A Drop of the Hard Stuff, featuring Matthew Scudder, and The Girl With the Deep Blue Eyes. He has been named a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master (the organisation's highest honor), and has won multiple Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as countless international prizes. He lives in New York City. (Official Bio)

Book Synopsis: To escape punishment for a murder he didn't mean to commit, insurance man Don Barshter has to take on a new identity: Nathaniel Crowley, ferocious up-and-comer in the New York mob. But can he find safety in the skin of another man...a worse man...a sinner man...? (Official Synopsis)

My Thoughts: Sinner Man was written in the 60's and the author lost track of the book over the years and it was only recently that the book actually resurfaced and he was able to re-release it. I am so glad that it did come back as I had such a great experience reading Sinner Man. As I said before, I wasn't planning to read this yet but I read the first and second page and I was immediately hooked. I enjoyed the writing style, the language, the swift and potent plot development and especially the main character.

Don Barshter kills his wife by accident, he knocks her down and she falls dead. Instead of panicking, calling the police and facing the consequences of his actions, he decides to go on-the-run and re-invent himself in Buffalo, New York. Don has to shed all of his previous personality including his appearance, speech, body language, behaviour and lifestyle, and in doing so become Nathaniel Crowley. Nat isn't a square like Don was, he likes to live large, spending money, getting involved with the mob and having sex with whom ever he wants. The evolution of Don is fast paced but meticulous, he wants to live his life but the only way he can see himself surviving is by becoming Nat.

I don't read enough Noir and this book told me that over and over. I had not heard of Lawrence Block before I read this but now I am a huge fan! Now I do not agree with what Don did to his wife and his choice not to face up to the music, but it is fascinating to observe this transformation and witness Nat's journey into the mob scene. The writing style was rapid, concise and brimming with character. In the back of my mind, I was trying to work out how a man could pull of this sort of stunt, but Block has an answer for everything and is so convincing in his writing that I ended up just enjoying the ride

I don't really have anything negative to say about Sinner Man. It is definitely not for everyone, there are mature themes like violence, murder and abuse, but it caters to readers of crime/noir and being nearly 60 years old means it most definitely helped define the noir we read today. Nathaniel Crowley is the heart and soul of this book and Block got his development spot on. I was amazed and bewildered by his choice just to drop who he was and become someone new and I was also mesmerised by his unwavering commitment to this completely new person occupying the same body as Don. 

I have given this book 4.5 stars because I had such a great reading experience with this book, I sat and read it in one go and I was left wanting more. I took a 0.5 off as Sinner Man is not for everyone due to the harsher tones, but I do believe the people who seek out this genre of book will have a great time with it. If you have read the book or are going to then please let me know what you thought in the comments.

Thank you as always for reading my review on Always Trust In Books. I am constantly looking for new books and content to share with you so please follow me here on Blogger for plenty more content in the coming months. I am also on Twitter and Facebook so I hope to see you there too!

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