Frank Sinatra in a Blender may be the best title for a novel in a while. Frank Sinatra is Matthew McBride’s first novel and was published by New Pulp Press. NPP is a great source for some new inventive noir and pulp books and I look forward to reading more from this publisher in the future.
This book’s protagonist is Nick Valentine, an ex-cop that was really good at his job, but had substance abuse problems. Nick is not drinking coffee anymore, because when he has a cup of coffee he wants a cigarette too and he’s quite smoking. Well that’s a good start, unfortunately he has no desire to quite alcohol…or cocaine….or oxy or etc, etc. Nick has a small Yorkie named Frank Sinatra, named for his fathers love of old blue eyes. Nick’s father was a police officer as well, so Nick followed in his father’s footsteps. Now that he is an ex-cop he has many contacts on the wrong side of the law. He usually hangs out with them at a strip club and isn’t afraid to ride the fence and work both sides of the law for his personal gain.
We have Nick, down on his luck financially and is staying at his office with his dog. He is called by the police to help with an apparent suicide that doesn’t look quite right. Soon a credit union is robbed and one of the robbers is shot in the back and left for dead during the escape. Nick puts 2 and 2 together and thinks both cases are connected. He gets his underworld contacts to help him, while he is appearing to help the police on the case. All this seems to be a plot to end up with some of the cash from the robbery. This is where the story takes off and we have strippers, thugs from England, tweekers, fat thieves with a pension for them same strippers, an Amish cop, and of course our hero and his dog. Who will get away with the money? Who will get away alive?
This story is very dark, but has quite a bit of humor in it as well. This is showcased in the blurbs on the book. One is from Charlie Sheen on the cover telling us he loved it and the other is the forward from Ken Bruen, who feel in love with the book. I think that sums up the book very well: “For fans of Charlie Sheen and/or Ken Bruen”
The movie rights for this book have been sold so we may see a movie version of this someday! I think this would be a great film if done right.
I’ve read Matthew McBride’s other book as well, A Swollen Red Sun. This book was even darker and I didn’t find any humor in it. It is beautifully written with a more literary feel to it. I read it a few months ago so I don’t want to give a review of that book with out a fresh look.
I think both books are very good and feel McBride has a bright future. I look forward to reading more from him. I would also love to see more Nick Valentine and Frank Sinatra in the future as well.