Hop Alley

Hop Alley

Scott Phillips

Fiction / Mystery

Cottonwood (2004) was a huge step forward for the burgeoning king of noir Scott Phillips, and his dark and gritty take on the western earned him starred reviews and praise from crime masters Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos. That novel featured the Kansas town beginning in 1872 when it was just a small community of run down farms, dusty roads, and two-bit crooks. Saloon owner and photographer Bill Ogden thought it could be more and allied with wealthy developer Marc Leval to capitalize on the advent of the railroad and the cattle trail that soon turned Cottonwood into a wild boomtown. But problems followed the money and soon Bill was confronting both the wicked family of serial killers known as the Bloody Benders as well as his one-time friend Marc, having fallen into an affair with his beautiful wife Maggie. Bill then turned up alone in San Francisco in 1890, having to face a past from which he could not run.But what happened to him in those missing years? What...
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The Ice Harvest

The Ice Harvest

Scott Phillips

Fiction / Mystery

“BITTERLY FUNNY . . . [A] SLEEK FIRST NOVEL . . . NOIR CRIME . . . HAS FOUND A STERLING NEW CHAMPION IN PHILLIPS.”–The New York Times Book Review“A FUTURE HARD-BOILED CLASSIC–TIGHT, COLD, AND CACKLING WITH IRONY. On Christmas Eve [in Wichita], a mob lawyer is skipping town with the cash. But in this boozy, neo-noir world–James M. Cain meets George V. Higgins–the best-laid plans of bagmen turn brutal.”–The Dallas Morning News“OMINOUS, ACTION-PACKED. . . This is a confident, wry debut . . . [that] may remind readers of Fargo or Pulp Fiction.” –Detroit Free Press“I SIMPLY CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT SCOTT PHILLIPS WILL DO NEXT. [This] funny, tough first novel felt like it was written by an old pro, an Elmore Leonard we’ve never heard about who’s discovered a place where the criminals are really dumb, the low-lifes are oh-so-fun to watch and, if somebody just happens to get what he deserves, there’s no one to blame.”–RICHARD RUSSO Author of Straight Man“A DARKLY COMIC, SOMETIMES BRUTAL PIECE OF NOIR FICTION.”–The Denver PostFinalist for the Hammett Prize
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Rake

Rake

Scott Phillips

Fiction / Mystery

The landscape of contemporary Paris, the best restaurants, the trendiest bars and clubs, is usually filled with the wealthy, the famous, and le rake or le roué, the charming, educated sophisticate with little or no conscience. Into this cushy world bursts “Dr. Crandall Taylor” —or rather the actor who plays him — the star of a dated American soap opera that is now one of the hottest primetime shows in France. And this newfound fame, as enriching as it is unexpected, is not wasted on Crandall, eager to put his dark and often violent American past behind him and enjoy all the fruits —and the women —that Paris and fame have to offer him.But TV fame isn’t enough. Randall wants a feature film. Every actor wants a feature film, and so Crandall uses his charm and intellect to draw into his narcissistic web four different women: an executive at the network that runs his show; an American porn star reaching new heights on the internet; a...
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Cottonwood: A Novel

Cottonwood: A Novel

Scott Phillips

Fiction / Mystery

In his New York Times notable debut, The Ice Harvest, Scott Phillips gave readers an instant noir classic that spanned twenty-four eventful hours in the life of a mob lawyer hoping to skip town (namely Wichita) with a small fortune. Phillips followed with the acclaimed sequel, The Walkaway, showing how a seeming windfall can wreak wicked havoc on the lives of its recipients. Now this award-winning author broadens his canvas, writing his most accomplished novel yet—one that is rich in suspense, drama, historical sweep, and Phillips’s unique blend of unforgettable characters. In 1872, Cottonwood, Kansas, is a one-horse speck on the map; a community of run-down farms, dusty roads, and two-bit crooks. Self-educated saloon owner and photographer Bill Ogden looks on his adopted town with an eye to making a profit or getting out. His brains and ambition bring him to the attention of one Marc Leval, a wealthy Chicago developer with big plans for the small town. The advent of the railroad and rumors of a cattle trail turn Cottonwood into a wild and wooly boomtown—and with Leval as a partner, Ogden dreams of bringing civilization to the prairie. But civilizing the Great Plains was never that simple. While many in Cottonwood distrust Leval’s motives, and mob violence threatens to derail the town’s dreams of greatness, Ogden finds himself dangerously obsessed with Leval’s stunningly beautiful wife. Meanwhile, plying its sinister trade unnoticed, an apparently ordinary local farm family quietly butchers traveling salesmen, weary travelers, and other unsuspecting wanderers. In his own inimitable brand of narrative wizardry, Scott Phillips traces the metamorphosis of a frontier town that becomes a lightning rod for sin, corruption, and murder. He also brings to life actual crimes that befell Kansas in the 1870s and 1880s, carried out by a strange clan who popularly became known as The Bloody Benders. Brilliantly written, maliciously fun, and full of many surprises, Cottonwood is historical fiction at its finest. From the Hardcover edition.**From Publishers WeeklyWestern epic, black comedy and soft porn are cleverly spliced in this genre-bending offering from Phillips (The Walkaway; The Ice Harvest), which relates the experiences of Bill Ogden, sometime farmer, sometime saloon-owner, sometime photographer in 1870s Kansas. Ogden, 27, is a self-taught Greek and Latin scholar and a sexual libertine capable of seducing almost any woman he encounters. Estranged from his wife, he never brags about his peccadilloes, although it seems that his devotion to oral sex sets him apart from rivals and makes him the heart's desire of the voracious women who seem to be everywhere on the frontier. The story, such as it is, centers on the arrival of Marc Leval and his lovely wife, Maggie, in the tiny farm community of Cottonwood. Marc capriciously selects Bill as a partner in his scheme to attract Texas drovers to a railhead, while Maggie plays a less-than-discreet game of spider and fly with Bill, the Kansas Casanova. In the meantime, an outlaw family embarks on a crime spree that eventually pits Bill against Marc and sends Bill and Maggie fleeing. Jumping ahead 20 years, Bill's story resumes in San Francisco, where he is making his way as a photographer and sexual athlete. He learns that Maggie, from whom he is long separated, has returned to Cottonwood, so he abandons his life in California and returns, bent on rekindling their love affair. Bill's salaciousness rivals Don Juan's and he is utterly devoid of scruples, but his deadpan humor and cunning indifference to life's vicissitudes keep him likable. Lively pacing and artful prose lend polish to Phillips's cheerfully grotesque chronicle of western antics. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From BooklistAt first glance, Phillips' third effort seems like quite a departure from his previous noirish crime novels, but it quickly becomes apparent that the author's brand of sly humor and his skilled depictions of nasty human behavior translate well to the historical genre. Set in frontier Kansas, spanning the years 1872 to 1890, the novel tracks the evolution of the young town of Cottonwood, rumored to be a future railroad stop, and its inhabitants, poised to take advantage of the fortunes that will come rolling in on the train tracks. Unfortunately trouble ensues while the residents wait for their ships to come in--most notably, they discover a family of serial killers in their midst (based on a real Kansas family known as the Bloody Benders). Our hero is saloon keeper Bill Ogden, who serves as the town's voice of reason until he takes the wrong married woman to bed. Romance, intrigue, dueling pistols, and a Charles Willeford feel translated to the frontier--a little something for everyone. Carrie BisseyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The Walkaway

The Walkaway

Scott Phillips

Fiction / Mystery

Gunther Fahnstiel is an ex-cop with a secret he can't quite remember, which is understandable in an elderly man who's not exactly certain of why he walked away from his Kansas nursing home, either. It has something to do with some missing money, a couple of murders, and a prostitution ring Gunther broke up 10 years ago... or did he? Readers may be confused by the way Phillips handles flashbacks to two different time periods, but they'll like Gunther, who's a complex and mutlidimensional old coot despite his failing memory--or maybe because of it. This darkly funny prequel to The Ice Harvest, Phillips's earlier crime novel, is populated by a cast of interesting and picaresque characters, some of whom make their second appearance here. --Jane Adams
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St. Louis Noir

St. Louis Noir

Scott Phillips

Fiction / Mystery

"Featuring a baker's dozen of original stories, plus one 'poetic interlude,' this new entry in Akashic's globetrotting anthology series explores, as editor Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest, tells us in his introduction, the 'collision of high and low' that makes St. Louis so interesting to crime writers...The stories here are uniformly strong. Regular readers of the Noir series (since its inception in 2004, there have been about 75 installments) know what to expect: tightly written, tightly plotted, mostly character-driven stories of murder and mayhem, death and despair, shadow and shock."—Booklist"Joining Seattle, Memphis, Phoenix, and other noir outposts, St. Louis gets a turn to show its dark side in Phillips' collection of 13 dark tales and a poetic interlude...[A] spirited, black-hearted collection."—Kirkus ReviewsAkashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in...
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