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From Barnes & NobleThe 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