(I seem to be in a stretch of not having time to read much except the books I'm editing, so here's another rerun, this one from October 18, 2006. It's pretty appropriate, though, since I haven't heard much about Norman Green, nor read any more of his books myself, since I wrote this post seven and a half years ago.)
Some books come out of nowhere and surprise you. I'd never heard of Norman Green, despite the fact that he's published four other well-received crime novels, including SHOOTING DR. JACK, which introduced Stoney, Fat Tommy, and Tuco. This is a perfectly fine urban hardboiled crime yarn with a suitably twisty plot, but what elevates it to an even higher level are Green's perceptive portraits of the characters involved in that plot. His heroes are borderline losers who are trying, sometimes with success and sometimes not, to hang on to their dignity and find something worth living for, and they come up against some suitably psychopathic villains. Green's dialogue is excellent, and he's as good as anyone I've read lately at getting to the heart of things with a few well-crafted lines. This is highly recommended and one of the best books I've read all year.
(Indeed, it made my Top Ten in 2006.)