Terry Barca’s introductory novella about Sam and Scarlett Bennet wafts us around the bars and restaurants of Melbourne very much in the old Hammett style.
We’ve got plenty here: a dead body (mysterious circumstances, of course); a flat-footed dick; a glamorous, wise-cracking couple in direct descent from Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man; doses of single malt and lots more.
And all crammed into a novella.
Just as the Pelecanos books have you reaching for a map of DC to follow the action, and the Crais books do the same for LA, Barca’s trawl around Melbourne has you itching for Google Maps so you can join in the action.
Sam’s the star, because he’s cool, solves the murder and already has the beautiful girl, but Melbourne puts in a competent challenge. Here also, The Long Weekend, plugs into crime-thriller literary tradition as illustrated, for example, by McBain’s star billing for New York.
The dialogue crackles on the page like bacon in the pan. The descriptives illustrate that unique Barca style as found in other posts on Creative Frontiers. Read’em and weep .. with envy.
But for all this talk of tradition, The Long Weekend’s architecture corresponds to the modern style of crime work, text or movie. We have a beginning and an end, but the middle bathes us in the kaleidoscopic light formed by different aspects of Sam’s life, Scarlett’s and their relationship. In the end, although we get satisfaction by knowing the murderer’s identity, it’s almost the mint at the end of a thoroughly indulgent dinner.
C’mon, Terry. Send this dynamic duo away for another weekend break soon, please.
You can find The Long Weekend for sale on Smashwords and Amazon.
See also here and here.