Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Ross Thomas
St. Martin's, May 2003
401 pages
ISBN: 0312315821

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Set in the United States post Word War II, this story seems simple enough. Lucifer Clarence Dye is hired by the Orcutt Association to corrupt a town on the gulf coast. Dye accepts the job and along with several associates, among them an ex-cop and an ex-hooker, proceeds to put a plan into action.

This story is much more complex. Dye is an ex-spy. He has just been debriefed and released from further service when he is approached by Orcutt. Most of the chapters in the book alternate between the history of Dye and what is happening in the town of Swankerton. The reader discovers that Dye was present when his father was killed in the bombing of Shanghai and that Dye was raised by a Russian prostitute. The reader follows Dye throughout his life: seeing his language skills, his marriage to the daughter of a spy, his recruitment into the spy organization, his release from service and his new job to corrupt the city of Swankerton.

I found THE FOOLS IN TOWN ARE ON OUR SIDE to be a unique book and one I surprisingly enjoyed very much. Thomas writes with a clean, uncluttered, deeply observant style. He excels in dialogue, developing gritty characters that any other author would give his eye teeth for. There is violence, but it is written in a no nonsense fashion without the extreme descriptions we commonly see today and it is necessary to the plot. There is a cynicism to his writing. This the United States post WW II and mobsters seem prevalent. How do you go about corrupting the corrupt? Thomas does it and masterfully mixes the numerous story lines, abundant deceptions and passions of the characters into a well told story.

Ross Thomas died in 1995. THE FOOLS IN TOWN ARE ON OUR SIDE was first published in 1971. Thomas took the title from Mark Twainıs HUCKLEBERRY FINN. ³Hain ıt we got all the fools in town on our side? And ainıt that a big enough majority in any town?² Between his death and 2002, Thoması novels went out of print and St. Martinıs is now reissuing them. Tony Hiss wrote the introduction for this edition of THE FOOLS IN TOWN ARE ON OUR SIDE.

Reviewed by Lane Wright, June 2003

This book has more than one review. Click here to show all.

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]