Friday, December 3, 2021

Review: Grifter's Game

Grifter's Game Grifter's Game by Lawrence Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a couple of classic crime novel scenarios I’m also ready to read. One is the standard noir plot in which a guy falls for a married woman, and they decide to kill her husband. The other is when somebody stumbles across something valuable like money or drugs that belongs to bad people. Leave it to a legend like Lawrence Block to combine those two.

Joe Martin is a grifter who skips out on one giant hotel bill and goes to Atlantic City to run up another one. Along the one he steals some luggage at the train station and is shocked to find a huge amount of heroin in one of the bags. While he’s trying to figure out what to do with the drugs, he meets and instantly falls for Mona, a gorgeous woman who is unhappily married to a rich man. Before you can say “Double Indemnity”, Joe begins to plan a murder.

This is billed as the first novel that Lawrence Block published under his own name, and it’s one he can be proud of. While it has some familiar noir tropes in the set-up, the book takes some twists that do not go where you’d expect them too. There’s great character work done so that you feel some sympathy for Joe even as he immediately shows himself to be a criminal who will take advantage of anyone.

Block started out with a great one here, and just kept getting better over the years.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment