Straight Cut – the review

straight cut

It’s been a while since we visited the stash of bargain priced Hard Case Crime books I found at Big Lots.

It must be time for another review then.

This entry’s book is Straight Cut by Madison Smartt Bell.

Let’s take a look at the blurb on the back of the book shall we?

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…

Sounds pretty boiler plate right?


When you get a Kierkegaard quote on the opening page, you know you might be onto something a little different.

This was the most well written of all the of Hard Case books in this lot.

The story starts with Bateman putting down his aging dog in a moving sequence.  Soon, he answers a call from his old friend/partner/rival Kevin.  Seems Kevin has work for him.  Film work.  Drug work.

The duo use their movie careers as cover for drug running.

They are also rivals for the affections of Lauren who may or may not have betrayed them both.

Bell is not your typical pulp writer and it makes the book something of an anomaly in the Hard Case line. 

The story takes us to New York City and then to various stops in Europe as Tracy tries to outmaneuver Kevin and keep himself nad Lauren save in the process.

As is so often the case in books like this, things don’t resolve themselves neatly, but they do resolve themselves.  As Tracy says near the end of the book, make of it what you will.

That seems to sum up my thoughts on the book.  It was well written, but I had a hard time getting into it.  Maybe it was because of my preconceived notions of what one of these books should be.  I’ve read some glowing reviews of the book.  Its not bad.  Just not what I was expecting.

Make of it what you will.

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