Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not Prone to Kill

THE PRONE GUNMAN, by Jean-Patrick Manchette, translated by James Brook.

Manchette, the revered French author of many thrillers for the famous Serie Noire publishing title, retired from writing in 1981 (he died at 53 in 1995). This was his last book, and it does a fine job of summing up a genre and his work in it. If the plot sounds familiar (a paid assassin wants to retire, but is tricked into taking on one last job, which goes absurdly and violently awry), it's probably because so many writers and film-makers have used -- and often abused -- it since.