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by Allan Guthrie
PointBlank, June 2004
188 pages
ISBN: 1930997493

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The first line of TWO-WAY SPLIT reads: "Four months and twenty-two days after he stopped taking his medication, Robin Greaves dragged the chair out from under the desk and sat down opposite the private investigator." You just KNOW that someone, somewhere, is going to be very sorry that Robin came off his meds.

Robin Greaves thinks his wife is having an affair. But he's going to have to put his personal problems to the back of his mind for now, because he's a man with a job to do. A post office job. Pearce is a a polite, thoughtful guy with a good sense of humour and a strong vision of justice. Oh, and he's just been released from jail after a stretch for murder. Kennedy and his boss are bored, disillusioned PIs. Only one of them has a broken nose.

Set in an Edinburgh far off the tourist track, Allan Guthrie's debut novel is a hard-boiled tale which pulls no punches and, indeed, throws a good few knockout blows into its lean, mean 183 pages. The characters are utterly believable (if sometimes extremely scary) and Pearce, in particular, is eminently likeable despite his hard-man exterior. The TWO-WAY SPLIT of the title works on a number of different levels throughout the book -- one of which I didn't see coming at all. It's dark, warped, and funny.

A simple, heart-warming, noir tale of a post office robbery gone wrong, an unfaithful wife, a couple of psychopaths, a pair of seedy PIs, and a man who really loves his mother -- TWO-WAY SPLIT is a book which takes that noir finger of fate and gleefully pokes you in the eye with it.

Reviewed by Donna Moore, June 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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