Ed here: I can chart Bob's career by how
certain books marked his progress as a
writer--how he moved to the next level.
The Ham Reporter
Alone With The Dead
TheEnd of Brooklyn
Upon My Soul
Pro-File: Bob Randisi
1. Tell us about your current novel/collection.
My new book is UPON MY SOUL, the first in my Hit Man with a Soul Trilogy. The
title comes from a Townes Van Zandt song. It's about a hit man who waked up one
morning and realizes he suddenly has a soul. He is then forced to deal with
what he has done over the years, while others are trying to either kill him
or get him to kill again.
2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?
I'm working on something I hope will be new for me, a book called MCKENNA'S HOUSE.
It's about a investigator who, while involved in a case of whether or not a dead
man was faithful to his wife, finds and takes in a homeless woman and her small
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
Not having to punch a time clock.
4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?
Having to deal with editor and publishers who can't understand what you're
trying to do. Thought that might be changing these days.
5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?
Slow down, don't be in such a hurry to get of rid of REAL books.
6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see
in print again?
I'd like to see some the old P.I. guys print--Thomas B. Dewey, Henry Kane and
Frank Kane. In PRINT! Not ebooks.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget
I met my first editor wile tending bar at MWA cocktail parties every month. We
became friends, and bought my first novel, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF PENNY. There was
stop-and-go involved, but it finally saw print in 1980. It's now available on the
Prologue Books website.
UPON MY SOUL a review by James Reasoner
As many excellent hitman novels as there have been over the years—Lawrence Block's Keller series and Max Allan Collins' Quarry series come to mind—you wouldn't think there would be much left to do with the sub-genre. But you'd be wrong, as Robert J. Randisi's new novel UPON MY SOUL proves quite handily.
Sangster, the protagonist of this novel, was an efficient, highly skilled killer for hire until the morning he woke up and realized he had a soul. This discovery led him to retire from the business, and he's spent the last several years leading a quiet, peaceful life in Louisiana.
But people at that deadly level of the underworld usually aren't allowed to walk away, as readers of Peter Rabe's Daniel Port novels and Ennis Willie's Sand series (not to mention the Butcher men's adventure novels) know very well. Sangster's past catches up to him in bloody fashion, and he's forced to choose between preserving his new-found soul by honoring his vow not to kill again or avenging several brutal murders for which he feels some responsibility. It's a dangerous conundrum, and Randisi uses it to ratchet up a considerable amount of suspense.
As usual in a Bob Randisi novel, UPON MY SOUL is very fast-paced, but it's not quite as dialogue-driven as some and is a bit more reflective, which works very well. Sangster is an interesting and sympathetic protagonist, despite his ruthless background, and the supporting cast is good, too, especially a Jamaican cab driver in Las Vegas who becomes an unlikely ally and an elderly butler who is more than he seems. There are some nice twists in the plot as well.
UPON MY SOUL is a fine crime novel, and I'm glad to report that it's also the first in a trilogy. I'm looking forward to reading more about Sangster's continuing struggle for his soul.