Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
Near-Future Noir narrated by a hitman carrying out his mission in a New York half-emptied after a series of post-9/11 terrorist outrages that culminated in a dirty bomb in Times Square. The rich have fled; only the poor remain. Our hero is ‘a bullet’; just point him, he’ll do the rest.
Hired by a far-right charismatic evangelist (so you know he’s a villain) his first two ‘hits’ are the client’s daughter and his brother. The brother is easy, the daughter is not – partly because she herself has become a killer, partly because she does not deserve to die, and partly . . . you’ve guessed. But this isn’t a straightforward thriller; it’s set in the near-future for a reason. Not only has New York succumbed but many of America’s finest citizens have locked themselves into fully-immersive online fantasy games whose greatest exploiter is . . . the client.
A fast, addictive read, inhabiting both the fantasy world and the real. If it lacks quotation marks for speech, who has time for them in this post-apocalyptic Brave New World?