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Monday, May 12, 2008

Reading Notes : A Deadly Business by Lenny Bartulin

I’m drawing to the end of Lenny Bartulin’s debut novel, A Deadly Business (pub. Scribe Publications). The book introduces Jack Susko, a Sydney second-hand bookstore owner, a character who is obviously going to be the main character in future books.

Jack Susko is an interesting character, quick of wit, long on endurance and just naive enough to get himself into a lot of trouble. The bookstore is very reminiscent of a number of the second-hand stores dotted around the city (sadly, most of them have closed down now).

“No, Jack Susko would not be retiring at the age of thirty-four. His view would remain the dusty shelves and battered paperbacks of the last year or so. Instead of up, he would climb down the steps into his basement shop in York Street in the city, where he spent the day making sure delinquent kids did not lift the stock.”

Jack gets the opportunity to make some easy money when Hammond Kasprowicz wants to buy every copy of poetry books by Edward Kass, an obscure Australian poet. Kasprowicz is prepared to pay $50 per copy for anything he had. The lure of easy money is enough to draw Jack out of his shop and, with a bundle of books under his arm he makes his way to Bellevue Hill and into the middle of an extremely confusing family battle.

Jack finds that there’s some competition out there in the search for Edward Kass books. Then he begins to have a few doubts about the motives of his client. Before he can act on those doubts, though, events swirl way out of control and the quiet bookseller finds himself busy dodging bullets.

I’m enjoying A Deadly Business. Bartulin has captured Sydney, both the landscape and the attitude of its inhabitants, with great accuracy. The book would have to be classed as a mystery novel as opposed to a crime novel and Jack Susko isn’t an investigator – not even amateur investigator. Instead he is a victim of circumstance who has been drawn into a conflict as an unwilling participant.

I’m looking forward to the next Jack Susko book to find out where Bartulin will take him.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Oh! This one definately looks interesting. My latest read, Landmark Status was more comedy/mystery. I love a good crime and so I look forward to similar books.