With The Straw Men
, Michael Marshall Smith moves impressively from being a promising author of surreal mid-list novels which draw equally on sf, fantasy and noir thriller into new and even darker territory.
Teenage Sarah is kidnapped in LA and subjected to the endless mad rants of the man who has nailed her under the floorboards, who is slowly starving her as he has others before. Burned-out cop Zandt, whose own daughter was taken and never seen again, is called back into the investigation by his FBI ex-mistress. Drunken, off-the-rails, ex-CIA Wade investigates the things which do not add up in the deaths of the parents he did not know as well as he thought he did. This is a book whose ambiguously heroic heroes share an almost comic ruthlessness with its villains and yet which never ceases to draw a clear line between the merely wrong and the profoundly wicked. Along the way, both the nature of the underlying conspiracy and the smart moves needed to track it down are created with remorseless ingenuity.
Marshall Smith has the skill to create motives and moves that are at once insane, plausible and contemporary. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Just when you think there’s nothing new under the sun in the world of the suspense novel, along comes one hell of a nasty spider call The Straw Men. It’s brilliantly written and scary as hell. Be the first on your block to stay up all night with this one; it’s a masterpiece, reminding us that even paranoids really do have enemies.’ STEPHEN KING
'A staggering, suspenseful journey through the darkness of American crime … succeeds in revitalising the serial killer novel with assured gusto… A new beginning for a major British writer, whose crime debut instantly moves him into the Thomas Harris division' Guardian
‘Brilliantly plotted, stunningly written … I read this in one go … if this isn't a hit, I am a monkey's uncle. And I don't think I am’. Independent on Sunday
‘Marshall’s descriptions of people and places are memorable and evocative and he has produced and absorbing mystery with a chilling denouement’ Sunday Telegraph
‘The Straw Men is a genuinely original thriller that combines the imagination and darkness of his previous work with bolts of nerve-screaming tension … Think “The X-files” meets “Hannibal”.’ Time Out
‘The crucial thing about Michael Marshall Smith is that he is enormously readable… once you have started reading one of his books, you won’t want to stop until you have finished it… He’s in a class of his own… A master of ad absurdum gags [and] enough sensationally good throwaway wisecracks to fill a car park full of skips… He has the talent to become the inspiration to a generation of writers’
‘Humour, a cracking pace and fluid prose… Sizzling… Michael Marshall Smith has a Crichton-like knack of attracting film studios’
‘Outstanding, highly original… fiercely funny, and hugely entertaining’
THE LITERARY REVIEW
‘As always with the fiercely inventive Smith, the rug of reality is exhilaratingly pulled from under the reader’s feet’
‘No one writes better than Smith about love: how it’s won, how it’s lost. No one writes better about being wasted – by drugs, by drink, by time. Nigh-on unique’
‘A storytelling skill that can only be described as pure genius’