Sweet Jimmy by Bryan Brown [5/10]

Who would have thought a famous actor would turn to writing bleak, almost avant-garde noir? ”Sweet Jimmy” presents half a dozen stories of crims, cops, and ordinary people in a sparse Ocker style nothing at all like what you find in most books on the mystery shelves. Three thieving cousins go straight … but women are dying. An ex-swimming coach is scammed – what next? A young thief receives a dangerous windfall. Two tourists accept a lift. The author’s style is noir as noir can be, short sentences hammered around the plot, impressionistic thoughts amongst the raw action. Occasionally the plotting sprays in all directions, with back story popping up opportunistically, and characterisation is laid down with thick brush strokes that sometimes work, sometimes distances. Sweet Jimmy makes for a couple of hours of entertaining crime fiction reading that can, in a couple of the picaresque tales, aspire to emotional truth.

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