Monday, September 05, 2011

Hard Cold Whisper - Michael Hemmingson

According to the back cover copy on this book, Michael Hemmingson wrote it during last year's Labor Day weekend as part of the 2010 3 Day Novel Challenge, a competition I hadn't heard of until now. So it seems appropriate to be talking about it this Labor Day.

HARD COLD WHISPER is pure noir, a deliberate attempt by Hemmingson to capture the crazed magic of the sort of Gold Medal novel written by Gil Brewer, among others. The narrator is David Kellgren, a San Diego process server who in the course of his job meets a beautiful young woman in a bad situation, stuck taking care of her rich, dying aunt. If you don't have a pretty good idea what's going to happen from there, you haven't read very many books of this sort. The fun is in trying to anticipate, or even keep track of, all the dizzying twists in the plot, of which there are many. And just when you think there aren't any more surprises and that things couldn't get any worse for David, you'd be wrong.

This is a fine book with plenty of raw energy, a pace that never slows down, and an unrelenting noir tone. Even though you know things aren't going to work out well for the narrator, you can't help but root for him. Hemmingson has the Gold Medal voice down very well. If you think they don't write 'em like this anymore, well, they don't, not often enough for my taste anyway. I enjoyed HARD COLD WHISPER a lot, and fans of crime fiction should check it out.

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