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The Prone Gunmanby Jean-Patrick Manchette
Synopses & Reviews
Manchette at the height of his powers in this corrosive parody of "the successs story."
Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game — so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. That's why he took up this profession! Martin returns to his hometown to claim her, but the Organization won't let him go. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone shooting position.
In a violent tale that shatters as many illusions as bodies, Manchette subjects Martin and the reader alike to a fierce exercise in style.
"Manchette is a master of both economy and irony. Brutal and bracing: Terrier's tale fascinates even as it chills." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Terse behaviorist prose...drives the narrative relentlessly and even gleefully forward....For the first time readers can experience in English translation the masterful thriller considered Manchette's finest, proof positive that the French knew what they were talking about when they labeled this sort of novel noir." Publishers Weekly
"This is lean, mean noir fiction that cleverly sends up the tough guy genre while incarnating it perfectly." Detroit Free Press
"There's not a superfluous word or overdone effect in The Prone Gunman, one of the last cool, compact and shockingly original crime novels Manchette left as his legacy to modern noir fiction." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Manchette describes his characters with the same wealth of external detail, icily delivered, that he uses for apartment decor or a hi-fi system." Village Voice
"This superbly muscular translation of the late French mystery writer Jean-Patrick Manchette's most celebrated work, The Prone Gunman, is the third volume issued under the City Lights imprint, City Lights Noir. The series may prove to be the most needed contribution to contemporary fiction by any publisher in a good long while." San Francisco Chronicle
"In France, which long ago embraced American crime fiction, thrillers are referred to 'polars.' And in France the godfather and wizard of polars is Jean-Patrick Manchette....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 the society's true engines." Boston Globe
"The Prone Gunman...demonstrates Manchette's perfect mastery." Robert Deleuse, Brief History of the French Crime Novel
Manchette at the height of his powers in a corrosive parody of "the success story."
Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game—so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. After all, that’s why he took up this profession! But the Organization won't let him go: they have other plans. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone shooting position. A tour de force, this violent tale shatters as many illusions about life and politics as bodies.
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. Manchette is a totem to a generation of French mystery writers, and his stories have inspired several films, including Claude Chabrol’s Nada.
Also Available by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Three to Kill
TP $11.95, 0-87286-395-6 • CUSA
About the Author
Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) was the author of 11 noir novels, of which The Prone Gunman is the second 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. Manchette rescued the French crime novel from the grip of stodgy police procedurals, restoring the noir edge by virtue of his leftism. Manchette is a totem to a generation of French mystery writers, and his stories have inspired several films, including Claude Chabrol's Nada.
James Brook is a poet who has translated works by Guy Debord, Henri Michaux, Gellu Naum, Benjamin Péret, Alberto Savinio, Victor Serge, and Sebastian Reichmann.
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