Plot: After a drawn-out opening, this thriller picks up the pace and doesn't stop. Mystery readers will enjoy the twists in the plot and the intriguing rogue's gallery of characters.
Prose/Style: Despite occasional expository pauses, the writing in this first-person-narrated novel is generally crisp. Tightening up the action scenes will strengthen the story and keep the plot running along.
Originality: Readers should find this mystery an entertaining blend of noir and psychological thriller tropes.
Character Development: The characters in this thriller, from central figures to peripheral cast members, are well-rounded and interesting.
Date Submitted: May 27, 2019
"A truly riveting tale of deception, murder and psychological suspense. Part psychological thriller, part noir, Diamond has accomplished the incredibly difficult task of deriving true suspense from the battle for supremacy going on within [the narrator's] own mind. The Bottom Line: One of the year’s best thrillers."
"A tough, twisted tale of distorted dreams and evil plans going wrong in every direction. Anti-hero Gantry is likeable enough, trying in his blundering way to do the right thing while falling deeper into a hole of his own digging. The cinematic plot is thoroughly engrossing, with tortuous turns and all the wrong characters showing up at all the wrong times. Manic’s work assignments with a varied cast of colorful customers provide a few breaks in the unnerving, rapidly escalating scenario of deception piled on deception. The cleverly conceived aspect of dual personality - Manis slowly gaining sway over Manic - adds a fascinating layer. Diamond manages all these threads deftly, with subtle humor and a wealth of forensic and personal detail." - Feathered Quill Book Reviews
"For lovers of crime fiction, there can be no more seductive catnip than a caper about a compromised antihero desperate to change his life for the better, the unhappily married femme fatale who is going to make that exceedingly difficult, a detective who is suspicious of both of them, and a rising body count... Diamond nails an evocative, nihilistic, hard-boiled style that fans of Jim Thompson and the like will admire... A feverishly readable psychological noir."
"Filled with high octane suspense, chemistry, action, intrigue, and deception, we find ourselves focused on the dangerous and powerful pairing of John Manis (the Johnny Manic of the novel’s title) and the beautiful Marilyn Dupree. Intuitive detective Lou Eisenfall has a bad feeling about these two volatile spirits coming together, particularly since Johnny’s wild lifestyle implies there’s a lot of darkness going on under the surface. What results is a powerful and engaging mystery that changes gear at every turn, charging towards a dangerous and disastrous conclusion for everyone involved... a gripping read that will keep you in your seat from cover to cover." -- Readers' Favorite (5 stars)