3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A fresh take on the noir of Chandler & Hammett,
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This review is from: Resuscitation of a Hanged Man (Paperback)
'Resusication of a hanged Man' is where Johnson took the bleak outlook of 'Angels' and applied it to the noir tradition...This book is as readable as Chandler or Hammett, and is a bit like Elmore Leonard (if he didn't let his characters off with happy ends!). It also reminded me of Martin Amis's novella 'Night Train' and the American Music Club song, 'Kathleen'...The book stands next to any film or book in the recent neo-noir tradition (from Jim Thompson spouted 'Blood Simple'/'Fargo'; 'A Simple Plan'; 'Chinatown'; '8mm'; Elmore Leonard's 'Glitz'; Ellroy's 'Clandestine' or 'The Black Dahlia'; the excellent trilogy 'Kill Me Again', 'Red Rock West' & 'The Last Seduction' etc.)...As ever, the language & descriptions are poetic and the possibility of redemption in love positively touching...There are twists and a terrible scene at night, which reads like Kafka's'The Trial' on the worst drugs...The voyeurism & betrayal are horrifying, as the conclusion and sub-plot twists are surreal...It is a refreshing take on the Private Eye- the lead character's whole existence is based on deception...So, an existential noir- that is highly readable and along with 'Jesus' Son' a good place to begin with Johnson. Best read before moving on to his second, superior noir- the 'Californian Gothic' of 'Already Dead'- with it's masks & drugs & Nietzschean philosophy in the final lost valley...If only ALL of Johnson's books were available in this country- for anyone who likes any American fiction from Carver to Ellroy, from Paluhinuk to West...This is as good as darkness gets...