"Murder was easy. The tricky part was getting away with it."
Just finished reading THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES by Lawrence Block. This original crime novel was first published last year by the ever reliable Hard Case Crime (my favorite contemporary publisher) and it sports a nifty cover by the late Glen Orbik.
Ex NYPD detective Doak Miller now works as a private detective in a small town in Florida. Now and then he does odd jobs for the local county sheriff. The sheriff, Bill Radburn, hires Miller to pose as a hit man in order to find out more information about a woman who has hinted that she wants to hire someone to kill her husband. The woman, Lisa Yarrow, is the titular girl with the deep blue eyes and when Miller meets her, he falls for her. Hard.
He quickly clears her of any suspicion and the two begin a torrid affair. Lisa's not the only woman that Doak is fooling around with. There's Barb, a real estate agent with a nice ass whom Miller introduces to the pleasures of anal sex. There's a pregnant milf that Miller enjoys an afternoon tryst with. But it's Lisa who has his heart. She's his fantasy girl. She's the woman he'll commit murder for. Because, why not, he's already killed one man.
While Miller plots his perfect crime, he watches several classic film noirs on TCM: DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, IN A LONELY PLACE. In all of these films, people who commit murder and think they've plotted the "perfect crime" are doomed. And Block sets us up to expect the inevitable twist in the final chapters. Lisa will of course be a femme fatale, a treacherous woman who has set up a sap to take the fall for the gruesome murder of her husband. Of course Miller will be caught. Of course he won't get away with.
Oh, there's a twist all right.
THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES is fast paced thriller that I devoured in the course of a couple of days. Be warned, it is definitely for adult readers. There is graphic sex and lots of it. But we're in the hands of a true master here. Block executes a perfect magic act of misdirection. He sets you up to expect one thing and then pulls the rug out from under you and gives you something else entirely.