- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Serpent's Tail; Main edition (20 Mar. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1852429712
- ISBN-13: 978-1852429713
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,066,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Small Crimes Paperback – 20 Mar 2008
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If the road to hell is paved to paved with good intentions, it may also be lined with small crimes. Classic noir, dark, funny, shocking and absolutely no compromise. Pure magic of the blackest kind. (Ken Bruen)
So noir... all the way to a surprisingly bold ending... Fairly zips along (Laura Wilson Guardian)
Zeltserman delves deeply into his specialty, an unorthodox look at the criminal mind. It kept me turning pages and glancing over my shoulder. (Vicki Hendricks)
Small Crimes is a superbly crafted tale. Immensely subtle, and written with a rare maturity and confidence... This deserves to be massive (Allan Guthrie)
This is a corrosive second novel of considerable impact. This loamy smorgasboard of salvation and revenge has both a violent and comic edge, marking Zeltserman as a name to watch. (Crime Time)
Zeltserman's breakthrough crime novel deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
Zeltserman creates an intense atmospheric maze for readers to observe Denton's twisting and turning between his rocks and hard places. Denton is one of the best-realised characters I have read in this genre, and the powerfully noir-ish, uncompromising plot, which truly keeps one guessing from page to page, culminates with a genuinely astonishing finale (Sunday Express)
Small Crimes is the kind of grim noir novel they used to write in the Thirties and Forties. There are no good guys, only men who are mean, vicious, tough, corrupt and amoral. Action is frenzied and bloody, women easy but vulnerable, dialogue curt... Zeltserman serves up the formula with enthusiasm and some fine writing (Marcel Berlins Times)
If Zeltserman keeps writing novels as terrific as Small Crimes... he may churn out a corpus that rivals Cain's...
The plot of Small Crimes is a thing of beauty: spare but ingeniously twisted and imbued with a glossy coating of black humor. Zeltserman takes up all the familiar tropes of the formula - femmes fatales, frighteningly dysfunctional families, self-destructive drives and the death grip of the past - and shows how infinite are the combinations that can still be played on them.
Zeltserman has superimposed a Jim Thompson mentality on a Norman Rockwell setting... Small Crimes is a strong piece of work, lean and spare, but muscular where a noir novel should be, with a strong central character whom we alternately admire and despise (Ed Siegel Boston Globe 2008-12-22)
Bent copper Joe Denton gets out of prison suspiciously early after disfiguring a fellow cop. Nobody wants Joe to hang around, not his ex-wife, his parents or his former colleagues - if he had any decency he'd get out of town and start over. Unfortunately, Joe has precious little decency - and a whole lot of unfinished business to attend to.A tale of redemption and revenge as dark and violent as it's bitterly comic, "Small Crimes" is the UK debut of hard-boiled hotshot Dave Zeltersman.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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There aren't many books about a criminal's attempt at redemption. Here, Dave Zeltserman gets it right. You don't know what Joe will do from one page to the next. It was enjoyable from start to finish. Highly recommended!
It's this latter touchpoint that drives the story (just as it does in countless classic and neo-noirs). Joe is a former cop just out of jail after a seven-year stretch for attempting to kill the local DA. He'd been taking bribes, coking up, and working on the side collecting for the local kingpin he was deep into gambling debt to, and the heat was on. Now he's lost his job, wife and two daughters, and the respect of his parents -- but his troubles are just beginning. It seems that the kingpin is lying in a hospital dying of the big C, and the same DA is trying to squeeze out a deathbed confession that will put Joe back behind bars forever. And one of Joe's fellow crooked cops is putting him in the poor position of murdering either the kingpin or the DA -- or else.
Joe spends the bulk of the book trying to get out from behind this 8-ball in a way that allows him to redeem himself. He's under the self-delusion that he's a changed man and can somehow now live a normal life. Of course, for the reader there are plenty of clues that this ain't gonna happen, and besides, if Joe had read his noir, he'd know that redemption isn't possible. Thus, most of the story unravels in rather predictable ways, with one or two useful coincidences thrown in. However, it does do a very good job at realistically portraying the damage Joe has done to his family -- an area where crime writers tend to succumb to their more sympathetic side. On the whole, it's a reasonably well-executed neo-noir, but without much to distinguish it from its many ancestors.
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