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The Distance: A Crime Novel Introducing Billy Nichols

Muller, Eddie

Editore: Scribner, 2002
ISBN 10: 0743214439 / ISBN 13: 9780743214438
Usato / Quantità: 1
Da Nearfine Books (Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)
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Titolo: The Distance: A Crime Novel Introducing ...

Casa editrice: Scribner

Data di pubblicazione: 2002

Condizione libro: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 2-3 weeks. Codice inventario libreria 9780743214438-3

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Riassunto: It's 1948, an era when newspapermen were stars -- and San Francisco sportswriter Billy Nichols is no exception. Known as Mr. Boxing throughout the city, he is the West Coast's answer to Damon Runyon -- an insider's insider who plucks and polishes his pearllike stories from the nonstop hustle of the city's nightclubs, gambling dens, and ringside seats.

Billy Nichols is right where he wants to be, until he stumbles onto a shocking crime scene. Heavyweight boxer Hack Escalante has killed his manager, and for reasons Billy doesn't fully understand, he makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to protect the prizefighter. Soon Billy's in too deep, caught in a conspiracy of desire, deceit, and betrayal, and he sets off a chain of events whose consequences may cost him his beloved career -- and his life.

As Billy himself struggles to escape suspicion, he must square off against relentless police detective Francis O'Connor, carry on business as usual with his colorful cronies in the boxing world, and resist his overwhelming passion for a woman he dare not love.

Billy soon discovers that he's not the only yarn spinner in this nefarious netherworld: many of the characters inhabiting his well-honed newspaper columns have crafted their own alternative life stories, hiding scores of secrets. Whose story will emerge as "truth"?

As richly ambient as James Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential," this debut novel brilliantly brings to life another time -- when pride and professionalism are sometimes more important than life itself.

Recensione: Penzler Pick, January 2002: This debut mystery is by an author who already has a claim on the hearts of his audience: he produced two splendid works of nonfiction that are must-haves for every mystery lover's library, Dark City Dames and Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. Both take readers down new paths into a familiar, haunting landscape--that of the 1940s and '50s films that brought such a paradoxical blend of artifice and authenticity to the small, claustrophobic world of crime.

As the son of a West Coast boxing writer, Muller is writing from strength when he makes his protagonist, Billy Nichols, a newspaper boxing columnist who easily keeps pace with the mugs and thugs he covers. The setting is post-World War II San Francisco and Nichols is a journalist who pounds out his stories, stopping only afterward to ask the right questions.

His relationship to the heavyweight Hack Escalante takes a startling turn early in the story as Billy finds himself an accessory to a crime that it seems Hack has just committed. Gig Liardi, Hack's manager, is lying dead on the floor of his apartment, less than a half-hour after summoning Billy over for a scoop, and Hack's knuckles are bloody, though his eyes are wet. "This boy should never have been a fighter," Billy thinks, watching him. "Now he was a killer. A couple of his tears dropped on Gig's face."

Even if prizefighters do cry, this scene is still only one high point in a tough, vivid re-creation of a lost era of urban sports history that swaggers on for almost 40 more chapters. More mystery novels featuring "Mr. Boxing," as Billy Nichols is known, will certainly be welcome by mystery fans, but come early to the series now and get a ringside seat! --Otto Penzler

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