Bank of the Black Sheep

Robert Lewis, Serpent's Tail, $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-84668-745-7
From the mesmerizing opening, in which Lewis adopts a second-person voice to facilitate the reader's identification with his protagonist's plight, until the satisfying conclusion, the author's third noir featuring Welsh PI Robin Llywelyn (after Swansea Terminal) fires on all cylinders. Llywelyn wakes up without knowing where he is, or who he is, only to learn that he has terminal cancer. While his condition does result in the dismissal of fraud charges against him, Llywelyn still faces the prospect of spending his remaining months in a depressing hospice. The investigator manages to sneak away to a local bar, where he receives a mysterious offer of work. That in turn leads to an opportunity on the wrong side of the law, which proves impossible for the dying man to resist. Gallows humor affords some slight leavening of the book's bleak, despairing worldview, one that James Ellroy fans will find familiar. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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