Straight Cut

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A freelance film editor, Tracy Bateman goes where the work is. So when his old partner calls with an assignment, Tracy finds himself on a plane to Rome. But there are surprises waiting for him—deadly surprises that will lead him on a desperate chase across Europe, into the hands of a pair of brutal drug smugglers, and back to New York City, where the greatest betrayal of all awaits...
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Straight Cut

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Overview

A freelance film editor, Tracy Bateman goes where the work is. So when his old partner calls with an assignment, Tracy finds himself on a plane to Rome. But there are surprises waiting for him—deadly surprises that will lead him on a desperate chase across Europe, into the hands of a pair of brutal drug smugglers, and back to New York City, where the greatest betrayal of all awaits...
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Revolving around a complicated and much-historied love triangle, Madison Smartt Bell's Straight Cut is a dark and deeply philosophical thriller about betrayal, forgiveness, redemption -- and Søren Kierkegaard.

Tracy Bateman is a freelance film editor whose life is in shambles. His wife, Lauren, has left him on their rural homestead with a dying dog, a half-empty bottle of booze, and a lifetime of regret. Wallowing in his sorrow as he quotes Kierkegaard, Bateman gets a call from an old -- and completely untrustworthy -- friend with a lucrative job offer. Kevin Carter, a charismatic producer and director who may or may not have had an affair with Lauren, offers Bateman an editing assignment in Rome on a documentary about drug rehabilitation. With no other options, Bateman accepts the job and travels to Italy, where he is, shockingly, visited by his estranged wife. Lauren, it seems, is delivering a locked suitcase to Brussels for Carter. Knowing Carter's highly unethical past, Bateman persuades his wife to let him complete the delivery -- only to be thrown into a scheme involving millions of dollars' worth of heroin, machine-gun wielding Bulgarian thugs, and Haitian voodoo!

Originally published in 1986, this profoundly introspective and cleverly unconventional thriller hasn't lost any of its existential punch. Bell describes Straight Cut as "philosophical Christianity under the aegis of Kierkegaard." Intelligent, entertaining, and enlightening, this unearthed literary gem deserves another chance to shine in the sun. Paul Goat Allen
Abraham M. Sirkin
THE best thing about this odd, old-fashionedly hard-boiled novel is its assured depiction of the vagaries of a freelance life....With its cynical, nauseated, sometimes barely sentient hero, loved and tormented by an opaque, unstable siren and periodically shocked out of his inertia by relays of hoodlums wielding knives and machine guns, ''Straight Cut'' could be the last existential thriller. It's even written in that deadpan, staccato style that lulls a reader into a progressively more deadening state of all-but-comatose alienation. Yet the novel has its charms, including a number of bright, moralizing apercus. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140153866
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1991
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Madison Smartt  Bell
Madison Smartt Bell is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction including the acclaimed trilogy about the Haitian Revolution All Souls Rising, Master of the Crossroads, and The Stone the Builder Refused.  He has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Prize and an instructor for the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Biography

Best known for an acclaimed trilogy of novels which chart the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803 (All Souls Rising; Master of the Crossroads; and The Stone That The Builder Refused), Madison Smartt Bell was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and educated at Princeton University and Hollins College. In addition to fiction that ranges from historical novels to short stories to dark psychological thrillers, he has written biographies (one of pioneering chemist Antoine Lavoisier and another of Haitian leader Toussaint L'Ouverture) and Charm City, an idiosyncratic guided tour of Baltimore, where he lives with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires. He has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and at Johns Hopkins University and currently directs the Creative Writing program at Goucher College. In 1996, Bell was chosen by the British literary magazine Granta as one of the twenty Best Young American Novelists. He is also an accomplished songwriter and musician.

Good To Know

"Two of my longterm pastimes are martial arts and music. I think this item of fact should make the characters I've written who practice both more plausible. I practiced Tae Kwon Do for 20 years until my knees stopped cooperating. Since then I've been doing Tae Chi -- great for concentration, meditation, clearing the head and restoring the energy, as well as being easier on the joints for anyone over 40. I've played various fretted instruments since I was 11, most recently electric guitar. Anything Goes, my most recent book, is a novel about a year in the live of a traveling cover band. It features a few original tunes cowritten by me and Wyn Cooper."

"Since 1996 I've been importing a few paintings from the Cap Haitien area of Haiti, as a benefit for painters there who suffer from the sharp decline of tourism. and some of these paintings can be seen at http://faculty.goucher.edu/mbell/painting.htm."

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    1. Hometown:
      Baltimore, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 1, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nashville, Tennessee
    1. Education:
      A.B. in English, Princeton University, 1979; M.A. in English and creative writing, Hollins College, 1981
    2. Website:

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