Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kiss Her Goodbye

Allan Guthrie

Kiss Her Goodbye

Polygon, 2006 \ Hard Case Crime, 2005

Joe Hope works on an Edinburgh loan shark named Cooper. If someone owes money to Cooper, Joe (with baseball bat) pays a visit to a debtor. When his daughter, Gemma, commits suicide, Joe blames for this her boyfriend Adam, who did not keep up with Gemma. Furious, Hope flys to the other side of Scotland, where Gemma was living in the complex for writers and screenwriters, organized by Adam. Upon arrival Hope is arrested on suspicion of murder of his wife, Ruth, with whom he had a hard relationship. But Hope did not kill Ruth:

If Joe had killed her that's how he'd have done it. But he hadn't, had he? At the time he was - well, he didn't know where he was. Fuck it, he knew nothing. He didn't even know when she'd been killed, did he?

Someone has framed him. Having fake alibi, Joe comes to freedom. And while he has time, he must find the real murderer.

If the action of «Kiss Her Goodbye» was put twenty years into the past, it would be almost perfect revenge novel. But events in the book occur in the middle of 00s, and it hurts credibility of the book. Wanted for the murder, a man walks through the streets of Edinburgh, uses his cell phone, doing everything to get caught. But for the plot Hope should remain out of prison, and all the modern technology remain in the past. Plot instability is compounded by simplicity of the final, although both ends meet, Guthrie is a professional.

Despite the flaws of the plot, «Kiss Her Goodbye» is a very good as a portrait gallery of the lower classes in Edinburgh. Hope, the muscle with a university degree who hates his wife, but not able to fully cheat on her. Hope’s lawyer, a young professional, selflessly helping the fugitive. Cooper, greedy on bodies of young girls. Tina, a prostitute, often at night welcoming Joe, the only one whose services he used. All of them are somewhat broken down, all with their flaws, but Guthrie makes them attractive to a reader. Anyone who falls once, not necessarily the fallen man.

There is enough of violence, justified or not, but violence does not shock anyone here, it is everyday life of the heroes of the novel. Whether the book has more elaborate plot, it would become one of the best examples of modern neo-noir. But so - kissed it goodbye and forgot.

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