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This title in other editions

The Twenty-Year Death

by

The Twenty-Year Death Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

France, 1931: A criminal serving a 40-year sentence in the forbidding Malniveau Prison is found stabbed to death in the streets of the nearby town where his beautiful 19-year-old daughter lives. When the daughter vanishes, her American-born husband demands an investigation — and sets off a cascade of events that puts them both in mortal danger.

California, 1941: In the wake of the events in France, Shem Rosenkrantz brought his young wife back to America — where she was discovered by Hollywood and has become one of the movies' brightest stars. But Shem's star has fallen as Chloe's has risen, and his affair with one of her co-stars brings tragedy into their lives once more when his mistress is found brutally murdered.

Baltimore, 1951: The repercussions of the Hollywood slayings have left Chloe in need of constant care — care that Shem can't afford, with his writing career derailed and his own mental and physical condition deteriorating. His only hope is a desperate trip back home to Baltimore, where the reading of his first wife's will could yield enough money for him and Chloe to survive on — or could lead to a catastrophic confrontation with the estranged son he barely knows, and a moment of madness and bloodshed that can never be undone. 

A breathtaking first novel spanning three decades and taking the form of three separate crime novels written in three distinct styles, each inspired by a different giant of the mystery genre — Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson.

Review:

"This isn't a first novel so much as a series of three discrete but interrelated first novels, each written (with apologies from the author) in the style of a different iconic thriller writer — Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson, respectively. This is a bold, not to say supremely cheeky, conceit — and if Winter hasn't completely channeled the hard hearts and gimlet styles of these dark, departed legends, the good news is that he delivers something even better: a hell of a lot of fun. The noir triptych is nominally linked by the presence of an alcoholic (but of course!) American writer, Shem Rosenkrantz, who remains largely — if menacingly — in the background for the first two installments before emerging (in first person) center stage in the last, best story. Set in the fictitious Verargent, France, circa 1931, the first book, Malniveau Prison, revolves around the mysterious death of a prisoner — the father of one Clothilde-ma-Fleur Meprise, Rosenkrantz's beautiful wife. (Along the way, some children — and Clothilde herself — go missing.) The search for the killer leads to a mysterious psychopath with a penchant for torturing tots, as well as a coverup at the titular prison. In the second, The Falling Star, set in 1941, Rosenkrantz is a womanizing L.A. screenwriter on a self-destructive slide. His wife, now working under the name Chloë Rose, is a successful but unstable starlet who suspects she's being followed. A suitably laconic Chandlerian PI, Dennis Foster, is enlisted to help the troubled star — but is he really being set up for a homicidal fall? In the third, and arguably darkest, tale, Police at the Funeral, it's 1951 in Calvert, Md., and Rose has been institutionalized, leaving Rosenkrantz — now a remorseful has-been — roiling in the tide of his boozy dissolution. 'Yeah, I'd always gotten a raw deal, and I was too pathetic to do anything about it, and I hated myself for that' pretty much sums up the self-inflicted purgatory this antihero wallows in. The stories work wonderfully well individually, but taken together create a tapestry of associations and reflections, sort of like mirrors trained on other mirrors. The whole, as they say, is greater than the sum of its parts. Along the way, Winter manages to deliver more than a few winking nods to genre tropes without ever descending into the arch or the obvious. Though there's clearly something meta (not to say postmodern) about the whole endeavor, Winter never loses touch with his genre heart; the books practically radiate grassroots passion. No, he does not entirely capture Chandler's verbal color or masterful use of metaphor (but who does). Nor does he completely conjure up Thompson's furious fusion of horror and hilarity (but who does). He comes damn close to capturing Simenon's slick, spare procedural vibe. But in the end all these comparisons are, yes, odious — because Winter has created something more than a facile feat of literary ventriloquism. He has written a truly affecting and suspenseful triple treat that transcends the formal gimmick at its heart. Agent: Chelsea Lindman, Nicholas Ellison Agency. (Aug.) Reviewed by J.I. Baker, who is the author of The Empty Glass, which Blue Rider Press will publish in July." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Bold, innovative, and thrilling — The Twenty-Year Death crackles with suspense and will keep you up late." Stephen King

Review:

"Not content with writing one first novel like ordinary mortals, Ariel Winter has written three — and in the style of some of the most famous crime writers of all time for good measure. It's a virtuoso act of literary recreation that's both astonishingly faithful and wildly, audaciously original. One hell of a debut." James Frey

Review:

"The Twenty-Year Death is a bravura debut, ingenious and assured, and a fitting tribute to the trio of illustrious ghosts who are looking — with indulgence, surely — over Ariel Winter's shoulder." John Banville

Review:

"The Twenty-Year Death is an absolute astonishment. Ariel S. Winter manages to channel three iconic crime writers and pull off a riveting story of a two-decade ruination in which it is the things not said that somehow have the loudest echoes." Peter Straub

Synopsis:

There's never been a book like The Twenty-Year Death

A breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.

1931 — The body found in the gutter in France led the police inspector to the dead man’s beautiful daughter — and to her hot-tempered American husband.

1941 — A hardboiled private eye hired to keep a movie studio’s leading lady happy uncovers the truth behind the brutal slaying of a Hollywood starlet.

1951 — A desperate man pursuing his last chance at redemption finds himself with blood on his hands and the police on his trail...

Three complete novels that, taken together, tell a single epic story, about an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. It is an ingenious and emotionally powerful debut performance from literary detective and former bookseller Ariel S. Winter, one that establishes this talented newcomer as a storyteller of the highest caliber.

Synopsis:

THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BOOK LIKE

THE TWENTY-YEAR DEATH

 

A breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.

 

1931—

The body found in the gutter in France led the police inspector to the dead man’s beautiful daughter—and to her hot-tempered American husband.

 

1941—

A hardboiled private eye hired to keep a movie studio’s leading lady happy uncovers the truth behind the brutal slaying of a Hollywood starlet.

 

1951—

A desperate man pursuing his last chance at redemption finds himself with blood on his hands and the police on his trail...

 

Three complete novels that, taken together, tell a single epic story, about an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. It is an ingenious and emotionally powerful debut performance from literary detective and former bookseller Ariel S. Winter, one that establishes this talented newcomer as a storyteller of the highest caliber.

About the Author

A long-time bookseller at The Corner Bookstore in New York City and Borders in Baltimore, Ariel S. Winter is also the author of the forthcoming children's picture book One of a Kind (Aladdin) and of the blog We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie, devoted to the rediscovery of long-forgotten children's books written by literary icons such as John Updike, Langston Hughes, and Gertrude Stein.  His writing has appeared in The Urbanite and on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and in 2008 he won the Free Press "Who Can Save Us Now?" short story contest. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780857685810
Author:
Winter, Ariel S.
Publisher:
Hard Case Crime
Author:
Wint
Author:
er, Ariel S.
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
700
Dimensions:
9.48 x 6.34 x 2.02 in 2.08 lb

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The Twenty-Year Death Sale Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.98 In Stock
Product details 700 pages Hard Case Crime - English 9780857685810 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This isn't a first novel so much as a series of three discrete but interrelated first novels, each written (with apologies from the author) in the style of a different iconic thriller writer — Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson, respectively. This is a bold, not to say supremely cheeky, conceit — and if Winter hasn't completely channeled the hard hearts and gimlet styles of these dark, departed legends, the good news is that he delivers something even better: a hell of a lot of fun. The noir triptych is nominally linked by the presence of an alcoholic (but of course!) American writer, Shem Rosenkrantz, who remains largely — if menacingly — in the background for the first two installments before emerging (in first person) center stage in the last, best story. Set in the fictitious Verargent, France, circa 1931, the first book, Malniveau Prison, revolves around the mysterious death of a prisoner — the father of one Clothilde-ma-Fleur Meprise, Rosenkrantz's beautiful wife. (Along the way, some children — and Clothilde herself — go missing.) The search for the killer leads to a mysterious psychopath with a penchant for torturing tots, as well as a coverup at the titular prison. In the second, The Falling Star, set in 1941, Rosenkrantz is a womanizing L.A. screenwriter on a self-destructive slide. His wife, now working under the name Chloë Rose, is a successful but unstable starlet who suspects she's being followed. A suitably laconic Chandlerian PI, Dennis Foster, is enlisted to help the troubled star — but is he really being set up for a homicidal fall? In the third, and arguably darkest, tale, Police at the Funeral, it's 1951 in Calvert, Md., and Rose has been institutionalized, leaving Rosenkrantz — now a remorseful has-been — roiling in the tide of his boozy dissolution. 'Yeah, I'd always gotten a raw deal, and I was too pathetic to do anything about it, and I hated myself for that' pretty much sums up the self-inflicted purgatory this antihero wallows in. The stories work wonderfully well individually, but taken together create a tapestry of associations and reflections, sort of like mirrors trained on other mirrors. The whole, as they say, is greater than the sum of its parts. Along the way, Winter manages to deliver more than a few winking nods to genre tropes without ever descending into the arch or the obvious. Though there's clearly something meta (not to say postmodern) about the whole endeavor, Winter never loses touch with his genre heart; the books practically radiate grassroots passion. No, he does not entirely capture Chandler's verbal color or masterful use of metaphor (but who does). Nor does he completely conjure up Thompson's furious fusion of horror and hilarity (but who does). He comes damn close to capturing Simenon's slick, spare procedural vibe. But in the end all these comparisons are, yes, odious — because Winter has created something more than a facile feat of literary ventriloquism. He has written a truly affecting and suspenseful triple treat that transcends the formal gimmick at its heart. Agent: Chelsea Lindman, Nicholas Ellison Agency. (Aug.) Reviewed by J.I. Baker, who is the author of The Empty Glass, which Blue Rider Press will publish in July." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Bold, innovative, and thrilling — The Twenty-Year Death crackles with suspense and will keep you up late."
"Review" by , "Not content with writing one first novel like ordinary mortals, Ariel Winter has written three — and in the style of some of the most famous crime writers of all time for good measure. It's a virtuoso act of literary recreation that's both astonishingly faithful and wildly, audaciously original. One hell of a debut."
"Review" by , "The Twenty-Year Death is a bravura debut, ingenious and assured, and a fitting tribute to the trio of illustrious ghosts who are looking — with indulgence, surely — over Ariel Winter's shoulder."
"Review" by , "The Twenty-Year Death is an absolute astonishment. Ariel S. Winter manages to channel three iconic crime writers and pull off a riveting story of a two-decade ruination in which it is the things not said that somehow have the loudest echoes."
"Synopsis" by , There's never been a book like The Twenty-Year Death

A breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.

1931 — The body found in the gutter in France led the police inspector to the dead man’s beautiful daughter — and to her hot-tempered American husband.

1941 — A hardboiled private eye hired to keep a movie studio’s leading lady happy uncovers the truth behind the brutal slaying of a Hollywood starlet.

1951 — A desperate man pursuing his last chance at redemption finds himself with blood on his hands and the police on his trail...

Three complete novels that, taken together, tell a single epic story, about an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. It is an ingenious and emotionally powerful debut performance from literary detective and former bookseller Ariel S. Winter, one that establishes this talented newcomer as a storyteller of the highest caliber.

"Synopsis" by , THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BOOK LIKE

THE TWENTY-YEAR DEATH

 

A breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.

 

1931—

The body found in the gutter in France led the police inspector to the dead man’s beautiful daughter—and to her hot-tempered American husband.

 

1941—

A hardboiled private eye hired to keep a movie studio’s leading lady happy uncovers the truth behind the brutal slaying of a Hollywood starlet.

 

1951—

A desperate man pursuing his last chance at redemption finds himself with blood on his hands and the police on his trail...

 

Three complete novels that, taken together, tell a single epic story, about an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. It is an ingenious and emotionally powerful debut performance from literary detective and former bookseller Ariel S. Winter, one that establishes this talented newcomer as a storyteller of the highest caliber.

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