Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Set Up On Front Street, by Mike Dennis

Set Up On Front Street by Mike Dennis is your typical hard-boiled noir fare. In fact, Mickey Spillane's hand prints are all over this one; the author even includes a quote from the Mike Hammer novel My Gun Is Quick.  I am a Mickey Spillane fan so I am loving this book aleady.

The protagonist in this story is Don Roy, an Irish bad ass out of prison, who got sent up in Nevada for a diamond swindle. He is coming home to Key West to lay down roots and collect his share of  the diamond money. As par for the course, his partner is shady and has done some creative financing with his share. Don Roy is non too pleased and threatens him if he doesn't come up with the "chedder" in short order. Don's troubles begin here and pile up through out the story until the finale.

The book is chock full of noir stereotypes: corruopt politicians, hard ass cops, evil rich dudes, a femme fatale, shady gangster friends of the main character who he can rely on for help in defeating his enemies, and a prostitute with a heart of gold. But even with these characters, it all still feels fresh and Dennis provides just enough color and back story for you to care about them and root for them. I would also add that the protagonist has a nice character arc that goes from bad to good.

A couple of other interesting features are these. One, is that the story takes place in 1991 in which during that time, the world was witnessing the fall of Communism in Russia, and in the case of the story, possibly the fall of Cuba. I like that this is similar, but yet a departure from Spillane in that his stories always had the element of paranoia over Communism and the Soviet Union. Added to that were the references about the disappearance of the old Las Vegas and the ushering in of the modern. Two nice twists.

As you can see I do not have anything negative to say about this book. If you are a fan of escapist pulp fiction then I would highly suggest you pick this book up. It is available for your Kindle for very cheap.


  1. Whit--Thanks for the great review. Much appreciated.

    1. Hey Mike,

      no problem. It was a fun review to write as well as a pleasure. Like I said on Facebook I intend to read more of your work. You're a good writer… And a very entertaining one.

  2. Wow. This new website is most excellent. The picture on the side don't hurt either!

    1. Chris,

      thanks for the nice complement. I have had a lot of fun putting this blog/website together. Miss you at the writers group.