Title: Rotten Apple: Seven Sins, One Deadly City
Author: Simon Dunn
Page Count: 170 KB (Kindle format)
Genre: noir, comedy
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
A noir-crime-suspense-thriller parody.
Seven interwoven comic stories from the underbelly of a sinful city. The hard-boiled detective, the down-to-earth stripper, the embittered hack, the psycho killer, the sultry brief, the gentleman thief - they all live in the Rotten Apple.
One would think that the concepts of noir and comedy would go together kind of like pigs and elephants. In some cases, I suspect that would have been the case, but Rotten Apple gets the elements working together in a fun way. To be fair, I think this book would be best enjoyed by folks who are already fans of noir; sometimes satire is funniest to people who can see the little digs and details, you know? This is a collection of shorter stories, all set in a reimagined New York City, all with the themes of noir comedy running through them.
Anyway, the first story opens with a hard-boiled police detective, Vic Malone, on the trail of a killer known as the Bay Area Bow and Arrow Beast, with all the trappings and language that a grizzled old detective on the trail of an old nemesis would have at hand. Vic would have fit right in on the set of The Naked Gun; he's a hard drinking, woman scorning, SuDoku doing old salt. Vic wants to be very sure that we know that he's a tough guy, and a straight one too, thank you very much.
I kept visualizing Leslie Nielsen throughout the story as I read. Seriously, how can you not:
All at once, fourteen trained men descended on Vic, but it really was no match. When Vic was holed up in a hole in Vietnam he had developed his own martial art. It was a slick combination of Kung Fu, Karate and Street Fighting. It was called Vic Fu, and kids in Asia were learning it everyday in an attempt to emulate their hero. And their hero was Vic Malone.While Vic is informing everybody and their mother that their fu is weak, there's still a killer on the loose. How Vic clears time in his very busy schedule to catch that killer (despite his best efforts) is entertaining.
Moving forward, the next stories are those of Candy Apple, a, shall we say, adventurous stripper whose adventures include jumping out of windows and getting shot at by creepy old lechers, and Ricky Hedges, a crooked journalist, to use the term loosely, who is both creepy and weird. They weave together to bring about the introduction of the Rotten Apple Killer, a serial killer whose target population is corrupt city officials, and there's no shortage of those in the city. Other characters are systematically introduced, but the one thing they all have in common is that they all lampoon classic elements of dark detective stories and noir.
The overall story moves forward with the identity of the killer being revealed and the tangled threads being held by all the miscellaneous characters become further and further entwined. Throughout the book, though, it's important to remember that this is a satire, as the prose can be gruff and abrasive at times; this book is definitely R-rated. Fans of noir will see the common elements showing up over and over again; dames, broads, failed relationships, drama, betrayal, and problems solved by the business end of a gun. While those expecting a lighthearted read might find more than they're asking for, those who love noir and can appreciate a good joke will find some giggles here. This is, like I said, an R-rated story, but there's plenty to laugh about.
And as a wise man once said, I just wanted to say good luck, we're all counting on you.
Simon Dunn has graciously offered up a Kindle-compatible copy of Rotten Apple to one entrant here at the giveaway carnival. The prize will be in .azw format, and all you have to do to enter is to fill out the form below. Then, comment on this post saying you entered the Rotten Apple giveaway for an added shot at the $25 Amazon gift card! Be sure to click on the link and comment on the right post so that your entry can be counted.