Monday, 16 May 2016

What Happens in Reno, by Mike Monson - a review

The Blurb
Matt Hodges is not a good husband. He’s unemployed, a drunk, and a compulsive gambler. His wife Lydia has basically written him off. However, with a small inheritance coming, Matt promised Lydia he’d not only pay for the cosmetic surgery she so craves, but that he’d also get them out of debt. Unfortunately for Lydia, as soon as the check is cashed, Matt heads for Reno to try his hand at high-stakes poker, and to stay as drunk as possible for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, back home in Modesto, Lydia plots with a local violent criminal (who happens to be her new lover) to find Matt and get the cash for themselves before it’s all gone. What happens when they all finally meet in Reno will be our little secret, okay?

The Review
Reading What Happens in Reno is like being hammered repeatedly in the face with the back of a shovel. The prose is stark and terse. Sentiment, there is none. Okay, a little. The characters rampage across the page. The dialogue is superb, the story dark and thrilling, the tension held at that very moment between the electric chair and the flick of the switch. 

The noir officianado, Otto Penzler, once wrote:

'The noir story with a happy ending has never been written, nor can it be. The lost and corrupt souls who populate these tales were doomed before we met them because of their hollow hearts and depraved sensibilities.'

By Penzler's definition, What Happens in Reno is as noir as it gets. 


What Happens in Reno is available from Amazon UK here and from Amazon US here

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