cover image Old and Cold

Old and Cold

Jim Nisbet. Overlook, $13.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-59020-915-8

In this offbeat, downplayed thriller from noir king Nisbet (A Moment of Doubt), a homeless 62-year-old hit man occasionally takes on a $5,000 murder contract to finance another binge of bitterly cold martinis in his favorite San Francisco bar. Details of the contract drop and the kill never become as important as the interior monologue, the arithmetical breaking down of Social Security money, the precise concerns over how to bring a martini to perfection. Each chapter is one long paragraph in which the narrator muses on such matters as: “Think of the smart money as a Kantian object, the smart money maintains, a soulless monad whose existence is intuited only by the intellect and not perceived by the senses.” Readers should be prepared for a flashy intellectual entry in the new geezer noir subgenre, in which a sinister barkeep almost traps our antihero with an open tab. 8-city author tour. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July)