Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: BRAINQUAKE by Samuel Fuller

BrainquakeFrom the back of the book:
The bagmen who transport money for organized crime live by a set of rules: no personal relationships, no ties, no women…and never, ever look inside the bag you’re carrying. Paul Page was the perfect bagman, despite suffering from a rare brain disorder. But that ended the day he saw a beautiful Mob wife become a Mob widow. Now Paul is going to break every rule he’s lived by–even if it means he might be left holding the bag.

My Review:
There is a lot to like about BRAINQUAKE; it's a mob book that goes beyond the stereotypical hit/murder/mayhem/gun mole type tales traditional to this genre, instead focusing on a formally mute bagman and his violent hallucinations aka 'brainquakes'.

Paul was born into the life of organised crime - his father worked in it and died in it. As a favor to Paul's father following his death, the Boss took Paul under her wing  and proceeded to turn this blank faced man into an exceptionally gifted bagman, one with a penchant for stopping 'pirates' and a fierce sense of loyalty.   

The key to being a successful bagman is to be an anonymous face in the crowd, have no attachment to friends/family/or partners beyond the occasional romp in the sack - Paul is fine with this, until he's not. When a chance encounter, one born of violence and death, unites single mother and former wife to a recently deceased underworld figure Michelle with Paul, he quickly succumbs to a feeling he hasn't felt before - shortly thereafter he's got a bag full of cash and a ticket out of the country. 

Written from multiple character perspectives, BRAINQUAKE kept me guessing the whole way through. It's one of those rare crime books where you know who the key players are but don't know who'll survive or where the next bullet will come from.

One of the best books Hardcase Crime has published without a doubt. 

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