Thursday, June 11, 2009

Panic Attack - Jason Starr

I haven’t read much by Jason Starr – his novel NOTHING PERSONAL and his first collaboration with Ken Bruen for Hard Case Crime, BUST – but I liked both of those books, so I decided to give his newest one a try. PANIC ATTACK is more of a mainstream thriller than either of the other two Starr novels I’d read, but with his own distinctive spin on the material.

It begins with a crime – a couple of burglars breaking into the house of psychologist Adam Bloom. Bloom confronts the burglars with a gun and shoots and kills one of them. The other one gets away and decides to take revenge on Bloom for killing his partner, and that revenge involves Bloom’s wife and daughter.

That’s really the entire plot of the book, but it’s a lot more emotionally complex than it sounds because Starr takes the reader into the heads of all the characters involved, often covering the same events from different perspectives. Most of the time I don’t care much for that technique, but Starr makes it work in this book. Even though none of the characters are very likable (something other readers have pointed out about Starr’s work), they’re all intensely human and you can’t help but want to find out what happens to them, even the evil ones. (And the villain in this book is really evil.) Starr had me flipping the pages and staying up late to finish.

PANIC ATTACK will be out later this summer from St. Martin’s/Minotaur. It’s certainly not what you’d call a breezy beach read, but it’s very well written and worth checking out if you’re a fan of noir fiction.


David Cranmer said...

I just received the new Thuglit anthology (sex, thugs, and rock & roll) and Starr has a story called "Double Down" that kicks some serious butt. I will probably check out Panic Attack.

Juri said...

You both have definitely to check out his Hard Case reprint Fake I.D., which is certainly one of the best noirs of the late 20th century. Tommy Russo sure isn't likable, but you're dragged into hell with him and deep.

James Reasoner said...


I picked up the HCC reprint of FAKE I.D. the other day, will probably get to it in a week or two.

JZID said...

I've recently finished reading all of Jason Starr's novels with the Hard Case Crime reissue of FAKE ID. (I also read the pre-release ebook version of Panic Attack.)

I've enjoyed EVERYTHING Jason Starr has written thoroughly. I'm now on to finishing off his shorts, I'd thought I'd start with the horse racing anthology he did, it seems appropriate after reading FAKE ID.