Yesterday, none of the books on my shelf looked good to me. There’s nothing particularly unusual about that. It happens from time to time. So, I suggested to my leggy wife that we walk down the hill to library and see what we could find.
Once we got to the library, nothing looked particularly good, either. I have been reading nonfiction almost exclusively, but I wandered over to the mysteries and noticed a small copy of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s The Prone Gunman. A short, French suspense novel sounded good, so I gave it a try.
Bubblegum for the Brain
I didn’t want anything heavy, or long and I was successful on both counts. The Prone Gunman centers on Martin Terrier, a working-class French kid who left his hometown in the middle of the night after his affair with a local rich girl went bad. Subsequently, Terrier joined the French military and was then recruited as an assassin.
As the novel opens, it’s ten years later. Terrier pulls out another hit in the U.K. & flies back to Paris. But he wants out of the assassination business. So, he flees back to his hometown – and immediately bumps into his old flame. Predictably, a) getting out of the killing racket isn’t so easy and b) he rekindles the affair with his old flame.
This book is exactly what I wanted – easy reading from a skilled author. As often seems to be the case with European mysteries, Manchette does a good job describing the local setting and also focuses on details, such what the characters are eating and wearing. Sometimes this works against the book, as the descriptions can be a bit too long, killing the momentum.
While I haven’t read anything to make me write that “You must read this.” It’s an enjoyable, lightweight read. I’d give it 7 out of 10.