Nobody Move
by Philip Elliott
Into the Void

"They found a large suitcase and just about managed to fit the woman inside. Looking at her cramped in there, still as a doll, Eddie knew he’d crossed a line that could never be uncrossed."

It’s great to run across a new book that could have been written during the heyday of noir novels from the likes of Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, and Cornell Woolrich. The setting is L.A. of today, but the darkness, desperation, and gallows humor are reminiscent of classic crime chronicles.

Eddie is a petty crook who graduates to homicide. He is aided by Floyd and Sawyer. Floyd is a jive-talking ex-con trying unsuccessfully to come to grips with his sexual preference. Sawyer is a military vet who drives getaway cars with the music cranked to ear-shattering decibels. They all work for Saul, a lobster-gobbling drug boss whose self-perceived sophistication is exceeded only by his uncontrolled cruelty. The essence of the plot is that Eddie screws up a debt collection that winds up with two dead bodies and fifty large that is still owed to Saul. The remainder of the narrative is Eddie trying to avoid Saul’s wrath, the police looking for suspects, and a monstrously malevolent Texan leaving bodies in his wake.

Elliott knows his stuff. He fills his story with references to archetypal novels like The Long Goodbye and genre-influencing movies like Heat. However, assuming his style is simply cribbing from the past would be a mistake. He proves exceptionally adept at developing his own brand of intensely violent suspense and meticulously executed action sequences; plus, he treats the women in his tale with the strength and self-respect contemporary mores reflect. Elliot is an insightful writer honoring the past with a jet-fueled tale of the present. His novel is sharp, stylish, and well-written. It makes reading fun again.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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