cover image The Hackman Blues

The Hackman Blues

Ken Bruen. Do-Not Press, $15.95 (156pp) ISBN 978-1-899344-22-2

A gay, manic-depressive, thoroughly disreputable ex-con with a violent streak, Tony Brady is also vibrantly alive and capable of dropping insightful quotes from Genet, Baldwin or Maupin gleaned from his prison reading. At the beginning of this slang-filled noir caper from London, Tony has settled in to a sweet racket with a former cellmate from Wormwood Scrubs, Elias Rasheed Mohammed--Reed for short. Together they conduct a useful little business finding lost items, even if they have to make the items disappear so that they can recover them for the grateful owners. Tony is approached by a wealthy builder named Jack Dunphy and asked to find his runaway teenage daughter. With Reed and little effort he succeeds. The problem is that the Brixton tough the daughter is with isn't going to give her up easily. And when Reed and Tony decide to play both ends against the middle, violence is the inevitable result. Bruen combines jazz, drugs, sex and violence into a heady brew that goes down easy and leaves a long aftertaste. (Apr.)