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BUST is the result of an unholy alliance between Ken Bruen and
Jason Starr, two modern masters of noir fiction. They bring
together a fearsome and wondrous mix of vile characters on the
streets of New York City to create a caper novel worthy of Westlake
or Leonard, but with the dark edge of...well, Bruen and

Max Fisher is a software millionaire who's tired of Deirdre, his
shrewish, ungrateful and unappreciative wife. The fact that Fisher
is seeing Angela Petrakos, his Greek-Irish secretary, isn't helping
matters. Angela is the perfect combination of angel and hooker,
with a bit of gold digger thrown into the mix. When Fisher wonders
out loud what life would be like without Deirdre, Angela wastes no
time in setting up a meeting between Fisher and a very strange
hitman known only to him as "Popeye." The shooter is Angela's
paramour, Dillon, fresh off the boat from Dublin. Their plan is to
acquire Fisher's fortune for themselves. The only problem is that
Angela is no longer crazy about Dillon, and Dillon feels the same
way about Angela.

Dillon is without question a bad guy, but there's no one here who
is truly likable --- except perhaps for Bobby Rosa, a redoubtable
paraplegic who spends his days brooding bitterly over his past
career as a criminal and surreptitiously taking photographs of
women. Rosa's likeability is only made possible by the revelation
of a soft side one would not expect. When he has the chance to
blackmail Fisher, however, he jumps at the opportunity. Everyone in
BUST is caught in a dark, swirling whirlpool that takes everything
and gives nothing.

This is a dark, gritty and inappropriately hilarious cautionary
tale --- exquisitely conceived and flawlessly written --- about
getting what you think you want and regretting it, and the endless
consequences of evil deeds.

BUST may have spoiled me for reading anything else for a while. I
haven't had a book make me feel this entertained in such a warped
fashion since I read DIG THAT CRAZY GRAVE by Richard Prather at the
tender age of 10. But that's another story. For now, don't let
another sun set without reading BUST.


Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 26, 2010

Ken Bruen & Jason Starr

  • Publication Date: May 2, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime
  • ISBN-10: 0843955910
  • ISBN-13: 9780843955910