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Hell's Half Acreby Will Christopher Baer
Synopses & Reviews
Kidnapping, snuff films, amputee geeks, and a requiem for lost love...
Cast adrift after the blood symphony of Penny Dreadful, Phineas Poe is looking for answers in the form of a woman. He tracks Jude to San Francisco, where he finds her involved with John Ransom Miller, a wealthy sociopath with a mysterious hold over her. Jude is nursing her own revenge fantasy, but she needs Miller's help, and in exchange Miller wants Jude to help him with an unspeakable crime. Alone and outgunned, Poe hopes he can save Jude from herself, make sense of his own past, and navigate the torturous internal landscape he calls Hell's Half Acre.
"In Baer's third brutal, impressionistic thriller, junkie ex-cop Phineas Poe is back and reunited with Jude, his freelance assassin lover (they met cute when she stole his kidney in Kiss Me, Judas). Phineas has been searching for Jude for five years, ever since she left him after being tortured and brutally raped by three men. Now he catches up with her in San Francisco, just as she's catching up with the creeps who attacked her. Gruesome revenge is had, but the man behind the rapists, wealthy and charismatic psychopath John Ransom Miller ('a homicidal Zen Buddhist with a degree in criminal law'), persuades them to join forces with him instead of wiping him out. The project he has in mind is a sophisticated snuff film, in which the identity of the victim will be a surprise until the end. Phineas suspects that it will be him, but it might also be Miller's actress girlfriend Molly, Jude or even Miller himself. The movie is shot over the course of a prolonged, nightmarish house party, with Molly, Phineas and Jude doing Miller's bidding much longer than seems plausible. A kidnapping and several twists keep the story moving along, but the muddled, garish plot isn't the point. It's Baer's smooth noirish styling and Phineas's voice — likable against all odds — that will keep readers hooked. Agent, Dan Mandel at SJGA. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An over-the-top Grande Guignol thriller that breaks every rule of fine literature without ever once descending to the lowest denominator. These pages hurt....Bruising stuff screeching on the knife-edge of acceptability." Kirkus Reviews
"Baer's writing has an undeniable force — it's sordid and entrancing, hallucinatory and yet given to brutal realism." The Times (London)
"Baer's language is hip, spare, brutal, sometimes gorgeous." Publishers Weekly
"Baer is, without a doubt, a writer of talent and promise." Denver Post
Kidnapping, snuff films, amputee geeks and a requiem of lost love populate this newest Phineas Poe thriller from the author of "Kiss Me, Judas."
About the Author
Will Christopher Baer is the author of Kiss Me, Judas and Penny Dreadful. He lives in California.
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