Gun lust, misogyny, and murder are among the ingredients in Robertson’s debut novel.
Sam Robbins hates his boss, his “over-rouged” co-worker, and his job involving dull “numbers connected to dull accounts and even duller people.” He’s also annoyed by his mother and harbors a grudge against his ex-wife. When not at work, Sam likes to takes multiple daily showers in his small, half-furnished apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, which features a “dowdy brown stuffed chair” and a “short stack of videotapes.” Lackluster Sam cooks up a plan to go from boring to ballistic, and the recipe calls for murder. He hides an issue of Guns magazine at work the way a preteen boy might harbor a copy of Playboy under his bedclothes, so he can barely contain himself when he overhears a co-worker, Bill Jackson, accepting an assignment to kill mobster Sal Lastretto. Sam wants in on the deal—“The hit, not the money”—so he befriends Bill. However, Sam has mixed feelings about Bill’s “inviting smile” and casual touches; Bill also invites him to dinner and a play about “two star-crossed lovers, both male.” Sam works to keep the seduction in check as he proceeds with his plan to take over the killing assignment. Along the way, he bargain-shops for guns and tries new disguises. This tale of a malcontent’s evil exploits seems preposterous, and Sam’s excitement over his AK-47 and shotgun (“he noted the ease of operating the pump as he pondered the words, ‘hit anything in the room’ ”) is disturbing. But although this book may not be for everyone, there are enough twists and intrigue here to satisfy many readers. It also provides a unique character in sad, shy Bill. Overall, Robertson manages to generate considerable tension in this thriller, which could potentially be the first in a series of dark adventures for Sam.
A crime story that’s hard to put down but may not be for all tastes.