Monday, March 21, 2011

The Black Russian by Lenny Bartulin

After yet another slow week at the cash register, that fine purveyor of second-hand literature, Susko Books, is facing financial ruin. Jack Susko sets off to a gallery in Woollahra to scrape up some coin with the sale of an old art catalogue. With his usual panache and exquisite timing, he arrives just as De Groot Galleries is being done over by masked thieves. Along with a mysterious object from the safe, the robbers seize a valuable first edition from Jack's bag, too.When the owner of the gallery doesn't want to call the cops, Jack is offered a sizeable sum to keep silent: but when de Groot arrives at the bookshop with his heavy to renege on the deal, all bets are off. With an ease that almost constitutes a gift, Jack Susko finds himself at the centre of a world full of duplicity, lies and art theft (from the publisher).
This is not as hardboiled as Peter Corris's Cliff Hardy but it has the same kind of feel - blokey without being too macho with a nice turn of phrase. The city of Sydney - suburbs, streets and weather - is more than a mere backdrop - she is the character. Not particularly demanding but certainly enough to keep the page turning quickly.
Rating - I give this 3.5/5 Not bad!
Get this from the library
Reviewed by Sarah @ home

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