All aboard the night train

8 08 2009

Night Train by Martin Amis

night train

From the Amazon summary:

On a beautiful night in a second-tier American city, a beautiful astrophysicist with the proverbial “everything to live for” shoots herself dead with a .22. Tough-talking detective Mike Hoolihan, quickly summoned to the scene, has witnessed every sort of victim: “Jumpers, stumpers, dumpers, dunkers, bleeders, floaters, poppers, bursters.” But this case is different. Mike has known the young woman for years–she’s the daughter, it turns out, of Mike’s mentor, Colonel Tom Rockwell. And the colonel is desperate to find a perp, despite massive evidence to the contrary. In Night Train, Martin Amis has fixed his sights on the American female–with a difference. Mike is in fact a woman–a hulking, chain-smoking, deep-voiced alcoholic who comes complete with a squalid family background and a none-too- happy foreground.

Almost a novella this and a pretty pacy read. Mike is a thoroughly compelling character and the story of her progress through the investigation is quite gripping at times. The writing is superb and everything about the setting and cast of characters feels real. Never really been attracted to this book before despite liking everything else Amis but glad have finally caught up. Excellent.

4 star

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