Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Inside Job, by Len Levinson

The Inside Job is a strange beast. On balance it is noir and it almost takes the notion too far. One of the things that makes noir a viable genre is a morsel of redemption in the main character. In this novel, the main character has none. You don't like him from start to finish. He represents everything I remember about the ugly 1970's male. I can  picture the shaggy side burns, poorly styled hair and the ill fitting suits with fly away collars. And that is where this novel really works and makes it enjoyable.

Levinson, despite breaking some rules of story telling had me captivated from beginning to end. He has an uncanny ability to set scene and atmosphere. He also had a keen eye for the grittiness of New York in the 1970's. You felt the danger, the grime and the lawless nature of the time and place. This is what makes The Inside Job a great book. If one wanted do research about the era, this is the story to read.

I also liked the piece for the same reason I liked the movie Thief in that it is about a low tech blue collar heist. Again, Levinson takes it a step farther and has the main character and his crew a bunch of angry, desperate, dumbskies. It just goes to show that back in those days it was a lot easier to do crime and get away with it.

If you like the work of George V Higgins, especially his classic The Friends of Eddie Coyle, then you will like this book. I loved this book and as for Len Levinson, I love this "freakin" guy. He writes books that I want to read. He is pure escapism and his writing is on par with my all time favorite Mickey Spillane. So, as you can see this is really not a review of his book because I am more of a cheerleader. Get The Inside Job and all of his other books from