Grifter’s Game previously published as Mona cements my love of the noir genre, indeed three out the last four books I have read have all fallen in to noir, if you look at my good reads profile (Markdini) you may notice a string noir novels to be read. So not only is The Hard Case Crime books a must for me there are a must for fans of detective fiction from the 1940’s up to the present day. I will go one further and name the out the last four book I have read including Grifter’s Game have all be from the Hard Case Crime label the moving tale of loss and the only Stephen King book I have enjoyed Joyland, The story of ex porn star come femme-fatale Angel Dare in Money Shot which is a solid modern tale of mobsters, the porn industry and money.
Exploring the femme-fatale theme Block’s Grifter’s game follows likable con man Joe Marlin, who hops from hotel to hotel stealing and grifting his way through life. Until he “borrows” the wrong mans suitcases. What’s more there is dame who is to Joe but will Joe do what is needed to keep Mona?
Block is a master of his genre Grifter’s Game is example of noir from the 60’s that holds well now. Joe Marlin develops through out the book and when the ending comes although you may not agree with Marlin you can understand how he got there. Block’s character development and story arc is tight the book weighs in at a mere 200 pages. Block writes with a rhythm akin to Elroy, in fact Block is somewhat darker than Elroy in places.
At he heart of Grifter’s Game is how far would a man go for love? And how far would someone go to be free? Despite it’s brevity Grifter’s game incorporates more in to it’s pages than most stories double the length can muster, a true testament to Block’s writing.
It’s strange how in the 21st century after countless years of civilization that people still can not read. I am not talking about countries where they are savages like France for example but developed western cultures the UK , USA , Spain and other parts where one would assume people would be able to read.
I find it a tragic loss to humanity that great books that could sculpt people and help them build better societies or to question and reason. Don’t get read because people lack the skills for this to happen.
So here are 3 books that I have found that influenced me :
Catch : 22
The lunacy of war all contained in the pages. If every politician and kid in school was made to read this and understand it then there would be no war. Anti war protesters shouldn’t be marching on government buildings to protest but they should leave copies of this out side recruiting offices up and down the country and around the world.
Orwell’s vision of security cameras everywhere and a totalitarian government over seeing it all. Well George wasn’t wrong when he wrote this was he? Orwell teaches us that freedom and free speech aren’t a god given right but it is something we must fight for and make governments fear the people and not the other way around.
The Elephant and the twig
A strange book for people who don’t do self help books. Written by martial arts veteran Geoff Thompson the book is full of sound advice about ceasing the day , not allowing fear to grip you and giving you the hard reality that some day you will die so make the most of it.
If you haven’t read any of these books I suggest you do. They will open your mind to questioning and reasoning and allow you start looking at the world in a different light.