Thursday, October 14, 2010
Review: The Seventh Compass Point of Death
Title: The Seventh Compass Point of Death (A Quinn McShane Story)
Author: Richard Sanders
Price: $14.95 (paperback) $1.99 (Kindle)
Point of Sale: paperback, Kindle
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
Richard Sanders, the author of The Seventh Compass Point of Death, worked at Entertainment Weekly and People magazine, or so says his author biography, entitled “Who The Hell Wrote This?” Also according to that bio, he spent time in jail, rehab and a psych ward. Knowing Sanders’ entertainment and personal background goes a long way towards explaining his writing style.
You see, Seventh Compass Point is very cinematic, and reads like a novelization of a hard-boiled film noir. This includes the occasionally wry narrative commentary that in a movie would be done via a voice-over. In a book, that voice-over can be a bit distracting, until you get used to it. Also a bit distracting is that the 250+ page book only has five chapters, used as acts in a movie, and a number of separately-titled scenes.
Although the book stylistically is film noir, the topic is extremely modern. The book opens with the story of a pair of bank robbers. Their robbery goes bad, and one of the robbers ends up carjacking “some raghead Pakastani or something.” Alas, when the robber gets caught, the police discover that the Pakistani was driving around with a dead body in the trunk.
Quinn McShane, ex-private detective and now journalist, gets called in because the police are questioning an Iranian-American that Quinn had done a story on. Quinn, we learn, has a past of his own, involving (surprise!) drugs and jail. The “good guy with a bad past” is of course classic noir. Also a part of being classic film noir, double-crosses and hard-boiled action fill this book, all set in a gritty modern New York. Nobody is entirely innocent or entirely what they seem.
Although clearly influenced by movies, Seventh Compass Point is a damn good book, and well worth the read. It would also make a good movie, were it to come to that – a movie that I for one would be glad to go see. If you’re looking for a modern-day action thriller, I highly recommend The Seventh Compass Point of Death.