Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Booklist review: Peter Rabe

From Booklist (advanced review)

Rabe, Peter. My Lovely Executioner/Agreement to Kill. 2006. 289p. Stark House, $19.95 (97819333586113).
Though the titles attached to Rabe’s pulp thrillers often appear to have been chosen by a dart-throwing editor in the basement office of a seedy publishing house, the words inside were chosen with a precision belied by the speed with which they were written. Rabe can pack more into 10 words than most writers can do with a page: “Jessie sat next to me, but it was just clothes.” In My Lovely Executioner, Jimmy Gallivan finds himself busted out of prison against his will—he only has three weeks left to serve on a seven-year sentence—because someone important thinks he knows something he can’t remember. In Agreement to Kill, Jake Spinner walks out of prison on his own, having served his time, into an old grudge match that soon takes an unpredictable turn. Executioner is a tightly wound, claustrophobic thriller with a can’t-miss predicament, while Agreement, a skosh less successful, is almost a character study, as we watch would-be criminal Spinner try to kill his humanity. Not all of Rabe’s efforts gleam quite so brightly, but these reprints prove the publisher knows how to mine for gold. —Keir Graff

Ed here: It was my pleasure and privilege to know Peter Rabe. Just before he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he was scheduled to come to Cedar Rapids for a four or five day visit. The visit never took place. He died pretty quickly. I wish he was alive to see all the current and sudden interest in his career. He was convinced he'd been forgotten.

Order your advance copy now at http://www.starkhousepress.com/

Another Stark House winner

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