Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Accident Man

The good folks at Viking Penguin were kind enough to send along a copy of The Accident Man by Tom Cain. The novel has drawn attention for its fictionalization of a certain British princess' death, but that's not what caught my eye in the opening pages.

Rather, I have in mind Declan Burke's definition of crime fiction in a current discussion on Crime Always Pays, which reads, in part, thus:

"If a writer understands that the fictions of crime in books or movies serve as a lightning rod to the inevitable fears and paranoias of the modern world, and has wit enough to render our most primal instinct entertaining, then he or she is a crime writer and the book is a crime novel."
Entertaining? The title refers to the protagonist's profession. Sam Carver is an international hit man who arranges the demise of those who deserve it and in such a way that their deaths appear accidental.

Fears and paranoias? Here's how Cain describes one target in a prologue that sets the novel's tone: "The official term for Visar's business was people-trafficking, but Carver preferred a more traditional job description. As far as he was concerned, the Albanian was a slave trader."

Read an entertaining, wide-ranging interview with Tom Cain on Bookslut.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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