Quick Review: A MAN NAMED DOLL by Jonathan Ames (Mulholland/Pushkin Vertigo)

AmesJ-AManNamedDollUSIntroducing Happy “Hank” Doll, P.I.

Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word “no.”

Doll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.

A Man Named Doll is more than just a fascinating introduction to one truly singular character, it is a highly addictive and completely unpredictable joyride through the sensuous and violent streets of LA.

This is the first novel by Jonathan Ames that I’ve read. It will not be the last. A noir-esque crime novel set in Los Angeles, it introduces readers to Happy “Hank” Doll: former veteran and LAPD officer, now a struggling private investigator. Over the course of a few days, Happy’s life is upended by a series of escalating, deadly encounters that threaten not only his own life, but those closest to him. A quickly-paced, enjoyable read. Continue reading

New Books (January-February)

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Featuring: Mary Adkins, Jonathan Ames, David Annandale, David W. Brown, Michael Carroll, Becky Chambers, Andy Clark, Dan Frey, Betina González, Andrew J. Graff, Marlowe Granados, John Gwynne, Paul Herron, T.L. Huchu, Gregg Hurwitz, Elizabeth Knox, Oliver K. Langmead, Peter Mendelsund, Annalee Newitz, Gareth L. Powell, Tim Seeley, Laurel Sills, Jen Silverman, Matt Smith, Tasha Suri, Aidan Truhen

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Upcoming: A MAN NAMED DOLL by Jonathan Ames (Mulholland/Pushkin)

AmesJ-AManNamedDollUSJonathan Ames seems to have quite a varied publishing history: he’s published two humorous novels, somewhat akin to Jeeves & Wooster or Withnail & I — Wake Up, Sir! and The Extra Man — and also the brutal noir You Were Never Really Here (which was adapted into the Joaquin Phoenix-starring movie of the same name). This year, he returns with A Man Named Doll, the first in a new LA-based noir series:

An idiosyncratic private detective Happy Doll and his quest to help a dying friend who is running out of time in sun-blinded Los Angeles

Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word “no.”

AmesJ-AManNamedDollUKDoll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.

A MAN NAMED DOLL is more than just a fascinating introduction to one truly singular character, it is a highly addictive and completely unpredictable joyride through the sensuous and violent streets of LA.

Jonathan Ames’s A Man Named Doll is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America (April 20th) and Pushkin Vertigo in the UK (April 29th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Books on Film: YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

This movie is based on a novella of the same name by Jonathan Ames (a review copy of which I received quite recently). A brutal crime story, the movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, who is hired to rescue a young girl kidnapped by a sex ring. The movie, directed by Lynne Ramsay, is already racking up accolades and awards, and was the winner of Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Here’s the trailer:

The movie is due to arrive in cinemas in April 2018 — distributed by Film 4, Amazon Studios, and others.

AmesJ-YouWereNeverReallyHereJonathan Ames’s You Were Never Really Here is published in North America by Vintage (a movie tie-in edition is due out in March), and in the UK by Pushkin Vertigo. Here’s the synopsis…

A gritty, harrowing story of corruption and one man’s violent quest for vengeance.

Joe has witnessed things that cannot be erased. A former FBI agent and Marine, his abusive childhood has left him damaged beyond repair. He has completely withdrawn from the world and earns his living rescuing girls who have been kidnapped into the sex trade.

When he’s hired to save the daughter of a corrupt New York senator held captive at a Manhattan brothel, he stumbles into a dangerous web of conspiracy, and he pays the price. As Joe’s small web of associates are picked off one by one, he realizes that he has no choice but to take the fight to the men who want him dead.

Brutal and redemptive in equal measure, You Were Never Really Here is a toxic shot of a thriller, laced with corruption, revenge and the darkest of inner demons.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

New Books (December 2017-January 2018)

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Featuring: Saladin Ahmed, Jonathan Ames, RJ Barker, Elizabeth Bear, Tom Bissell, Ezekiel Boone, Jordanna Max Brodsky, Leo Carew, Rae Carson, Ron Chernow, Mira Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Grigsby, Vaseem Khan, Margaret Killjoy, Matthew Kneale, Jessica Knoll, Phillip Margolin, Angus McIntyre, Brad Meltzer, John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci, Laline Paull, Tristan Palmgren, Gareth L. Powell, Alastair Reynolds, Josh Reynolds, Kelly Robson, Sebastian Rotella, Rob Sanders, Tess Sharpe, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Peter Watts, Timothy Zahn

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