THE PRICE YOU PAY by Aidan Truhen


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A coke dealer pisses off the wrong guy and winds up with seven psychotic killers on his trail.

The beauty of a pseudonym is that it allows a writer to start over, unburdened from the preconceptions of their previous work (looking at you Robert Galbraith and Benjamin Black). Here, a previously published writer offers a blistering fast, rat-a-tat urban thriller starring a fast-tongued white-collar criminal who might be crazy. Jack Price is a relative nobody who deals high-end coke to anyone who can afford it. Things go awry when someone clips Jack’s downstairs neighbor, an old lady named Didi, and then sends some goons around to beat him up. Technically, there’s a plot here somewhere—something involving a rich do-gooder named Sean Harper and an Icelandic dark web portal called Poltergeist—but it’s really just window dressing to set a gang of assassins called Seven Demons on Jack’s ass. But Jack, though sweet on his lawyer, Sarah, is homicidally crafty in his own way, for instance, keeping a crazy homeless man locked in a warehouse wearing clothes covered in knives, you know, just in case. Or buying a bunch of competing cocaine, cutting it with anthrax, and then slinging it back into circulation. Or shooting his own dirty cop for nothing more than expedience: “We hug. And then I shoot him in the face. Small caliber goes phht and one of his eyes goes red and that’s it. Sorry not sorry.” Jack’s fast-paced, expletive-heavy monologue works overtime as he faces down his foes one by one, among them a street fighter, his own enforcer, a shadowy sniper, and a preternaturally gifted, semipsychotic sex doctor who practices her own dark arts on Jack. The book is more Looney Tunes than criminal noir, but it’s an entertaining trifle, piquant with its Tarantino-light aesthetics and a narrative voice that recalls early Charlie Huston.

A clever little slice of gun fu, powered on popcorn and airplane-glue fumes.

Pub Date: July 10th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5247-3337-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2018


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