Racing against time

I thoroughly enjoyed Dylan Lawson's Every second lost. Published in 2013, it's a real old-fashioned American-Noir thriller, examining the dark underbelly of Tinseltown in a way that's remarkably reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy. The writing may not be quite up to Chandler's standards (whose is?), but it's a crackingly good tale.

The likeable hero, Elias Hawk, is damaged goods. Returning from a High School Prom with the girl of his dreams, Hawk is involved in a car accident that will have repercussions for the rest of his life. After nearly dying from a head injury, Hawk knows that he is living on borrowed time. Having lost his girlfriend, who wants nothing to do with him post-accident, Hawk consoles himself by becoming an insurance investigator, and sorting out other people's crashed lives. But when the High School date walks back into his life with a dead husband and a missing daughter, Hawk is forced to confront a past that ruined his life. Can he rescue his future before time runs out?

This crime novel was an unexpected joy. Plenty of twists and turns, a great sense of place, a very likeable hero, and some excellent writing about the pains of youth and innocence corrupted. Some of the characters are rather clumsily written:- the ex- Tracy never truly convinces, although this may be partly because it is left until the very end before the author reveals whether or not she really is a force for good. And some of the villains do tend to be rather of the comic book variety. Nevertheless it was thoroughly enjoyable, and one of the best modern American-noirs I've ever read.

Dylan Lawson, the author, has worked as a screenwriter on Twin Peaks and The X-Files, the slightly cynical, dark twist of both shows work brilliantly in Every second lost. He also writes as Scott Frost, with the Alex Delillo crime series. Definitely an author to watch.


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