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Three to Killby Jean-Patrick Manchette
Synopses & Reviews
Businessman Georges Gerfaut witnesses a murder — and is pursued by the killers. His conventional life knocked off the rails, Gerfaut turns the tables and sets out to track down his pursuers. And what does he discover along the way?
French thriller writer Manchette — masterful stylist, ironist, and social critic — limns the cramped lives of professionals in a neo-conservative world.
"A social satire cum suspense equally interested in dissecting everyday banalities and manufacturing thrills. Writing with economy, deadpan irony, and an eye for the devastating detail, Manchette spins pulp fiction into literature." Kirkus Reviews
"The theme of paranoid man-on-the-run is a staple of B-thrillers, but the author shows such superb elan in handling the material that it almost seems as if he's the first to craft it....The occasional touches of dark humor recall Charles Willeford, the passages of sinewy prose the spare musculature of Richard Stark's early Parker novels. Manchette is a must for the reading lists of all noir fans." Publishers Weekly
"[T]he author breathes new life into a popular noir formula....Manchette's left-wing politics drive the story in occasionally intrusive ways, but, ironically, what makes the tale come alive is the coldly impersonal narrative style, evoking both Camus and Jean-Paul Melville's exquisitely icy film Le Samurai." Bill Ott, Booklist
"For Manchette and his generation of writers who followed him, the crime novel is no mere entertainment, but a means to strip bare the failures of society, ripping through veils of appearance, deceit, and manipulation to the greed and violence that are society's true engines." The Boston Globe
"It's an old storyline, but Manchette tweaks it playfully, and to no predictable end. Neither Georges's class consciousness nor an appreciation for the yuppie good life are awakened by the experience, only insubstantial longings and a capability for brutality he didn't know he had." Ben Ehrenreich, The Village Voice
"[W]onderful....Dark, ironic, funny, quickly paced, translated from the French, and very, very cool." Ann Romeo, MurderInk.com
"From the first page of Three to Kill, from virtually any page of Manchette, you know right away you're in the hands of a master, and that the ride will be a rapid, unsettling, often terrifying one....Manchette's are lean, muscular books that deserve serious reading." James Sallis
First in English for Manchette, renovator of French noir; trenchant social critique laced with black humor.
Businessman Georges Gerfaut witnesses a murder—and is pursued by the killers. His conventional life knocked off the rails, Gerfaut turns the tables and sets out to track down his pursuers. Along the way, he learns a thing or two about himself.... Manchette—masterful stylist, ironist, and social critic—limns the cramped lives of professionals in a neo-conservative world.
Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942—1995) rescued the French crime novel from the grip of stodgy police procedurals—restoring the noir edge by virtue of his post-1968 leftism. Today, Manchette is a totem to the generation of French mystery writers who came in his wake. Jazz saxophonist, political activist, and screen writer, Manchette was influenced as much by Guy Debord as by Gustave Flaubert.
About the Author
Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) was the author of 11 noir novels, of which Three To Kill is the first to be published in English. An amateur jazz saxophonist, one-time political activist and prolific TV screen writer and literary critic, Manchette renewed French noir in the post-1968 period and established the new genre of the néo-polar. His writing was influenced as much by Guy Debord as by Gustave Flaubert.
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