John Ridley, author of STRAY DOGS, one of the most impressive debut novels in years (and subsequently mangled in film as U-TURN by director Oliver Stone), offers up his sophomore effort, LOVE IS A RACKET. Delivering upon every bit of promise shown in his debut work, LOVE IS A RACKET is an absolute masterpiece of noir fiction.
This taught, face-paced novel is a first-person narrative of a dejected writer and grifter – a con man – whose gambling losses have left him financially indebted to a brutal, local crime boss…and his time to repay is rapidly growing short. Desperate to stave off his imminent execution, he schemes to resurrect a dead actress in the personage of a streetwise and homeless young waif and play upon the emotional weaknesses of a retired and wealthy movie mogul who love the deceased actress and pines for her still. As the plans proceeds, loyalties blur and motives twist and turn like an angry rattlesnake.
Ridley has fashioned a rollicking story that harkens back to the stark, lean noir'ish tales of Jim Thompson, Dan J. Marlowe and David Goodis – tales of a desperate man set against forces of his own making that are spiraling out of control, struggling to survive these forces while battling his own inner demons. Injecting the story with a sharply honed modern sensibility, Ridley has brought together the best of both eras in a novel that is at once violent and heartbreakingly poignant.