Book review: Wake the Undertaker by Joe Clifford

2 Apr

Released just last week, Wake the Undertaker, by Joe Clifford is a wonderful fun read.

Okay, it is clear that I know Joe pretty well at this point and think of him as a mentor/friend/colleague in  many ways so I won’t be phony and pretend  this is some normal review and then just kiss his fucking ass the whole time because I love him. I’ll just tell you why I like the book, okay? Jeez.

It reminds me of a mid-to-late 1940s film noir starring Burt Lancaster or Kirk Douglas–or both. I think Mr. Clifford has likened the book to the super-hero comic books he loves such as Batman, but I must politely disagree — I think my own post-WWII film noir comparison is much more apt. This is because the characters seem very real, almost chiseled in stone — like the wonderful faces of Lancaster and Douglas.  It’s got all that stuff — the night clubs, the femme fatales, the dancer with a heart of … something valuable maybe not quite gold, the crooked yet somehow sympathetic youngish night-club owner, horrible crime bosses and their tough guy underlings, and lots of cops — both good and bad. But, unlike in comic books things are never simple and never quite how they seem and the plotting is very sophisticated and full of surprises.

That’s it. That is all I’ve got (oh and the writing just sings with lots of cool metaphors). I’m not going to tell you the plot and all that shit — that’s why there is a freaking book for crissakes, so you’ll read the damn thing and find out for yourself what happens. Okay?

Thanks. Goodbye.

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