"Jason Starr is the first writer of his generation to convincingly update the modern crime novel by giving it provocative new spins and HARD FEELINGS is his most accomplished thriller yet. It might be new-school noir but like the classics of the genre it has a brutal escalation of tension, pungent dialogue, a hardboiled simplicity and grace, and a whopper of an ending. It's also darkly funny and a pure pleasure to read. As you race through it you realize that Jim Thompson has just moved to Manhattan." --Bret Easton Ellis
Jason Starr, already dubbed the King of Noir by one reviewer, has chronicled another bumpy descent of a hero into gritty urban hell. When we meet Richie Segal, he's a salesman on the skids. As we get to know him, Richie learns what a desperate man is capable of.
Computer systems salesman Richie Segal knows things are bad, but he has no clue how bad they can get in this effectively bleak successor to the noir tradition of Jim Thompson and David Goodis. Problems with his job, problems with his marriage suddenly seem of no consequence when he encounters his childhood neighbor, Michael Rudnick, walking down the street in New York. The sighting of Rudnick, now a prosperous lawyer, triggers a flood of repressed memories that begin to haunt Richie in every aspect of his life. What did Rudnick do to him in the basement rec room when he was just a kid? And what should he do to Rudnick now? Starr (Nothing Personal; Cold Caller) does a fine job nailing down his cast of vacuous yuppies, digital-age counterparts to the unsympathetic characters populating the paperback original novels of the 1950s. While Starr works his material well, wedding a modern understanding of repressed memories to a doomful noir scenario, as well as escalating the action with a consistent hand, he never manages a brilliant Thompsonesque leap completely over the top the angle that made Thompson such fun. Still, those looking for an uplifting read will find themselves trapped like rats between the wrong set of covers, as fans of noir bump into another author who can bring them down and cut loose with a savage kick to the ribs. (Jan. 15) FYI: This novel is the first paperback original to appear under the Black Lizard imprint. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In his third book, Starr continues his nasty habit of inviting readers into the mind of a whacko and then closing the door to let them work it out. The whacko in question here is Richard Segal, a thirtysomething New Yorker who, beneath his smooth surface, has serious issues. He's a surly, not-too-successful computer consultant with illusions about his own importance, and he's extremely jealous of his wife's increasingly successful career. Oh, and when he was a boy, he was apparently molested by a neighbor who was several years older. When by chance he sees that aggressor on the street, he begins to think murder (or murders) may be just the thing to get him back on track. Starr knows how to deliver straight-ahead pulp fiction with the best of them, and here he does it again as efficiently as in his earlier Cold Caller and Nothing Personal. The fact that Vintage Crime/Black Lizard is publishing a new novel as a paperback original for the first time in its ten-year history may help boost the already healthy interest in this writer. Highly recommended. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
For Richard Segal, these are the deep-dyed worst of times. Nothing but nothing in his life seems to be going right, including his five-year-old marriage. And it somehow doesn't help that for Paula, things do seem to be going right-her new and richly deserved promotion as evidence. Whereas Richard, once a hotshot computer salesman, hasn't broken the ice in seven interminable months, Paula is now a research VP at her brokerage firm. That means her base is $10,000 a year more than his, which, as she points out acidly during one of those domestic free-for-alls that have become commonplace between them, `makes the hunter feel like he's not providing.` Bull, says Richard, knowing it's not. Compounding a variety of irritations small and large is the reappearance into his life of one Michael J. Rudnick, last seen when Richard was 12, Rudnick 17. Actually, that leaves mere irritation way behind, since Rudnick is a figure out of Richard's scariest nightmares. Something happened between them 22 years ago, something Richard has shied away from naming even to himself, except to acknowledge that it was almost unbearably ugly. Seeing Rudnick suddenly looming as the two cross Fifth Avenue from opposite sides, is first a stomach-turning surprise and then a detonation. Rage, too long suppressed, proves volatile in the extreme-and when Richard explodes, no one close to him is safe from fall-out.