Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blood Diamonds by Ed Lynskey

BLOOD DIAMONDS by Ed Lynskey is a pulp crime thriller told from the point of view of a sociopathic grifter named Jonas Blades, whose weakness for women nearly does him in. The plot revolves around a diamond heist double-cross in which Jonas betrays the lover whose idea it was, then takes up with another as she rots in prison. As the story begins, his first "mistake" gets out of jail and comes around for revenge, along with the diamonds Blades has been hiding in a safety deposit box. It's a fun romp, full of names you might find in a Woody Allen flick, like "Jacquie Mantooth" and "Virgil Hogman" and "Rita Jo Chapelle." Much of the mid-book is an extended flashback to the actual crime. The term "blood diamonds" here is not so much a reference to their origin in Africa attained by slave labor, but rather the fact that the hot rocks only go to one victor of the four vying for them, with murder (and blood) the means to arrive there. Narrator Phil Berroll acquits himself nicely with the first person story, his gruff voice standing in for Blades, and unafraid to embarrass himself (in the character's lustful ignorance of women.) Not much is needed in the way of melodrama in dialogue, since this guy is like an anti-Mike Hammer in telling his twisted tale, with a neat little twist at the end showing just how "set" the criminal mind is in making another victim or sap pay for their mistakes. 

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