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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 November 2013
In this story set in Las Vegas ( I do wonder about Andrew's earlier life and just how he knows about some of the places in his books!) a new Character is introduced to us. "Professor" who narrates/writes a story in Andrew's own whimsical, slightly sarcastic, humourous style. Some good "naughty bits" in it which do add to the story but you only realise that at the end.
I will not give any of the storyline away, although once or twice bits are added that we don't know about, and in my case I hadn't guessed about, help the Professor solve the crime(s)
Once again another winner ( In my opinion) from Andrew and I am pleased to say there is scope for more books featuring the Professor and I look forward to the next one..................
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on 31 October 2013
Mark Paris AKA The Professor is a man with a past- and a gaudy past it is too. He's the widow of a famous singer, an ex-pianist, ex- army, ex-boxer and ex-mathematician with murky family secrets.

Paris operates as a 'fixer' in 1960s Las Vegas and when he receives a panicked phone call one morning from Stan Maxwell , a drinking acquaintance who has woken up with a dead blonde in his bed, Paris is soon embroiled in a hardboiled murder mystery that involves blackmail, a high class bordello, cops, the mob and very nasty psycho killer.

Peters cleverly and deftly adds social commentary, pop culture references, smart dialogue and witty asides to an already potent cocktail.

Subtraction is one of the most enjoyable and original crime novels I've read all year. Fantastic stuff.
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on 14 December 2013

I just loved Mr Peters style! Good old fashioned detective work here. It begins with a case for Mark Paris - a professor who sometimes acts as a fixer.

The story is narrated by Mark Paris in a brilliantly humorous way. Having said that don't get the impression that this isn't an excellent plot, it is and will grip you quite early on.

Enjoyed this very much and look forward to reading more by Andrew Peters.
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on 3 January 2014
Prior to a recent post of Paul D Brazil regarding this book by the author, Andrew Peters I had been unaware of either. Intrigued by Brazil's praise for both, I contacted Mr Peters and he obligingly sent me a copy of his latest offering Subtraction.

Well how did we get on? I enjoyed it and found it well-written with an easy style of narrative that kept me turning the pages. Our main character, Mark Paris AKA The Professor was likeable and believable and his back story portrayed him as a sympathetic character to this reader at least.

Paris is a part-time gambler and small-time fixer in sixties Las Vegas. An associate calls him for help after
waking up next to a dead hooker and Paris obliges, though it is obvious that all he's done is bought his friend some time. Blackmail and an escalation are around the corner.

Next to come calling on the Professor is the sister-in-law of his girlfriend. She's a Vegas madam whose string of girls are being targeted for attack by a couple of vicious thugs. Paris agrees to look into the matter and soon his involvement in both cases has him in jeopardy. Our Prof has to manage the attentions of the LVPD as well as a psychopath before he fully understands his involvement. Regrettably for Paris, he has to turn back to his estranged family to help him fix the mess.

Overall Subtraction was an interesting book with a satisfying resolution. Peters sucked me into 60's Vegas.

His depiction of the bars and restaurants, cabaret acts and casinos was the second best thing about the book, after the Professor himself.

I possibly didn't enjoy it quite as much as Paul, but it was off-beat and quirky enough for me to want to read more from Peters at a later date.

4 from 5

Thanks to Andrew Peters for my copy.
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on 9 December 2013
An engaging, Chandleresque romp through Sleazy Street.

Our hero, Professor Mark Paris, is a man who had been pretty aimless since the death of his wife. He likes fine food, fine wine, gambling large sums, and to have the desirable Margot on his arm. A wealthy man, he can afford to live at his ease. And, for the most part, he does.

But, although something of an idle man-about-town, when prodded, the Prof can be stirred out of his lethargy sufficiently to take on the role of part-time private investigator (unlicensed) when the fates or fancy moves him. He is surprisingly successful as a PI and has gained something of a reputation as a man with a good brain who is able to fight for justice when the police seem happy to let things lie.

So, when a sometime acquaintance found a dead prostitute in his bed, his protestations of innocence in the hooker's murder drew a reluctant Prof into action to check out the sleazy side of the street on his friend's behalf.

But his dilettante efforts proved insufficient to prevent the next death, that of his friend.

Since his friend no longer required his services, the Prof next took on the case of the madam of a high-class brothel. The madam told the Prof that she feared for her business as first one, then another of her part-time `ladies of the night' had been persuaded into premature retirement after being badly beaten. She asked the Prof to find out who was behind these vicious attacks.

Soon, the Prof was engaged in a high-end game of intrigue where nothing was quite what it seemed. But the threats to both the Prof and his girlfriend, the delectable Margot, were real enough. Not a man to crumple under physical danger, the Prof ignored the threats and continued his investigation. Yet, even though he sought help and information from a mostly useless network of acquaintances who supposedly had their ears to the ground, he was no nearer to finding out who was responsible for beatings that had now escalated into further murders.

The attacks on the hookers continued. The bodies were starting to pile up in a most inconvenient manner for the Prof, especially as he hadn't troubled to tell the police what was happening.

Then he got lucky; the murderer proved all too human and made a small, but fateful miscalculation. The ever-astute Prof was quick to pounce on this first indicator of guilt.

And in a confrontation with the murderer, he put his life on the line with the nonchalance of a man who felt he had little to bind him to the human existence.

In the Prof, the author has created an engaging, all too believeable, character who is more than capable of supporting a series.

I thoroughly enjoyed Subtraction and look forward to more of the same. Five stars.
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on 17 December 2013
In 1960s Las Vegas, Mark Paris, ex-mathematician, ex-boxer, ex-soldier and just about ex-everything he's ever tried, including marriage, has a reputation for fixing things and knowing useful people. With no real idea of what he wants to do in life he makes money playing the tables in Vegas casinos and spends his free time helping people sort out the problems no one else will take. His many talents are called upon when a drinking acquaintance telephones him in panic to report that he's woken up next to a dead blonde hooker, and that he has no memory of what happened. Drawn in against his better judgment Mark agrees to help clear up the scene. In doing so he becomes inexorably caught up in a sinister and complex crime. Soon he's not only trying to solve the mystery, but is also fighting for his life...

I downloaded this novel intending to add it to my long TBR list, but decided to take a sneak peak at the beginning. An hour later I was still reading. The story grabbed my attention from page one. The main character, Mark Paris, tells his tale in hindsight with witty asides in the narration that had me laughing out loud at times. Author Andrew Peters has a relaxed, easy writing style and an appealing turn of phrase that makes this well-plotted, gritty mystery a delight to read. Five stars from me for the sheer enjoyment his story provided.
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on 25 November 2013
...Author Andrew Peters possesses that rarest of talents, the ability to make story telling appear simple... the distinctive trademark, dry, throwaway humour wraps so easily round SUBTRACTION, it's almost a character in itself... the setting is Las Vegas in the 60's, with enough voluptuous females, the threat of violence from big-time gangsters, the ever-present reality of the need for prostitution, the need being income and excitement for the hookers, and the need for making money for the bordello owners... the primary character, Mark Paris has brains and street smarts aplenty to keep himself above water in a dangerous city, flitting from cop stations to society-columnists' desks, to seedy bars and upscale restaurants, sharing his bed with enough womanhood to keep him physically and mentally exercised... murder and violence sit side by side in this latest masterly offering from a highly gifted writer...
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on 24 January 2014
I'm a big fan of Andrew Peters work, he writes stories that don't take themselves too seriously, take a little swipe at some of the more annoying habits of writers and most of all entertain. Subtraction feels like Peters most 'proper' book. There's still the odd dig at a few writing habits but on the whole this time he seems to concentrate more on the story, and it's really good. The voice of the Professor really does pull the reader in and the story wouldn't seem out of place sitting alongside the likes of Chandler, Leonard etc... I hope there's more from this particular character
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on 4 November 2013
I would highly recommend this book it was a great read, gritty yet witty! Well done Mr Peters another class act!
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on 12 January 2014
Hard boiled noir crime is not my usual genre of choice but in the spirit of expanding my horizons I gave it a try and I have to say I am glad I did.

The characters, particularly the main character Mark, were well developed and believeable and the story kept me hooked right up until the end. I fell in love with Margo, the no-nonsense level headed red-head who can break a man's wrist with her bare hands and carries a .38 in her purse, but is still warm, tender and caring. I hope to see her character again in a different Peters book.

About half way through I thought I had cracked the mystery and was a little disappointed. I'm glad I carried on reading though as I then found my clever theory on whodunnit was an utterly false assumption, a nice little red herring thrown in so that when the end came the reveal was even better.

The narration style was conversational and relaxed - you could imagine you were sitting in a pub with the main character telling you what had happened in exchange for a drink - and it suited the story perfectly. It would be easy for the author to fall into the trap of telling rather than showing or talking down to the reader using this style, but this author didn't, the story was gripping and well paced and authentic, and I didnt feel pulled out of it at any point.

The ending was emotional, unexpected and skillfulky written. Despite this not being my usual genre, I will have to have a browse through other books by this writer.
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