cover image Fatale


Jean-Patrick Manchette, trans. from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith, New York Review Books, $12.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-59017-381-7

First published in 1977, this masterful hit man narrative from Manchette (1942–1995) strips down and flips expectations, anticipating La Femme Nikita by several years. "For her stay in Bléville, the young woman had chosen to call herself Aimée Joubert, and that is what I shall call her from now on," Manchette says of his female assassin, who "aside from her husband," as French author Jean Echenoz mentions in the afterword, "has already killed seven men, among them a factory owner, a stock breeder, and a doctor." Told in tight behaviorist language and laced with deadly black humor, this compact neo-noir follows Joubert as she steps much too far into her self-made career toward a showdown worthy of any action film. Written between Three to Kill and The Prone Gunman, Manchette's two books previously translated into English, this tense thriller should only add to his growing reputation in America. (May)