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My second read by the author and once again I m struck by just how much I like noir when it s Sallis noir And this book is difficult to like, or at the very least difficult to recommend, due to its overwhelmingly bleak nature Then again what would one expect from a title like that The other narrative lines are from a cop trying to find the killer and a kid absolutely terrific character who is inexplicably linked to the killer through dreams There is a stunning, dark, haunting sort of beau My second read by the author and once again I m struck by just how much I like noir when it s Sallis noir And this book is difficult to like, or at the very least difficult to recommend, due to its overwhelmingly bleak nature Then again what would one expect from a title like that The other narrative lines are from a cop trying to find the killer and a kid absolutely terrific character who is inexplicably linked to the killer through dreams There is a stunning, dark, haunting sort of beauty to Sallis sparse economic style of writing His books are worth reading for that alone Although this is marketed as a crime thriller, I would imagine that crime thriller fans might be disappointed, this isn t a story of a crime nor is it particularly thrilling, what it is is a solid literary character driven drama with some crime elements Very much the opposite of light reading, but one that personally I quite enjoyed A professional hit man Christian Jimmy is dying and of course has one last hit to complete Before he can strike, someone else botches an attempt of the target Christian is driven to find out the who and why of the attempted murder Meanwhile, one of the detectives assigned to the case has a personal life tragedy he tries to keep private view spoiler his wife is dying and wants to do it without him at her side hide spoiler The story moves from past to the present in a dreamlike sta A professional hit man Christian Jimmy is dying and of course has one last hit to complete Before he can strike, someone else botches an attempt of the target Christian is driven to find out the who and why of the attempted murder Meanwhile, one of the detectives assigned to the case has a personal life tragedy he tries to keep private view spoiler his wife is dying and wants to do it without him at her side hide spoiler The story moves from past to the present in a dreamlike state What s real What s memory It s less a mystery about a crime than a meditation on life, choices, and loss The Killer Is Dying, an unsatisfying bit of hard boiled noir by James Sallis, is all atmosphere and no terra firma The story of a hit man who has a terminal illness, it departs from the usual mystery by being written in a highly literary style, with multiple narrators and a lot of interior monologues But this ain t no Raymond Chandler.For one thing, I read the book and I don t even know whodunit The hit man, who is called Christian, has a target, but someone else tries to kill him before he d The Killer Is Dying, an unsatisfying bit of hard boiled noir by James Sallis, is all atmosphere and no terra firma The story of a hit man who has a terminal illness, it departs from the usual mystery by being written in a highly literary style, with multiple narrators and a lot of interior monologues But this ain t no Raymond Chandler.For one thing, I read the book and I don t even know whodunit The hit man, who is called Christian, has a target, but someone else tries to kill him before he does Insatiably curious, he tries to figure out who tried to kill the man Why he was doing it remained opaque, impenetrable Not pride Not honor Certainly not a sense of justice But there it was, the road before him And finally the why didn t matter anythan the truth of whether or not his tremors had actually stopped Of course, if the main character doesn t know why he s doing something, it s kind of difficult for us the reader to figure out, and thereby the whole book is kind of a waste of our time.The book also follows the police investigating the case, notably a detective named Sayles who s wife is dying Then there s a third thread, involving a teenage boy who has been orphaned and is living on his own buying and selling things on the Internet I may not have read carefully enough, but I have no idea how he figures in all this Sallis switches point of view from chapter to chapter, and without warning There were many times I started reading and realized I had the character wrong It would have been nice if he could have titled his chapters with the name of the person we re with.The writing is often quite strong, with good lines like Every human interaction, even the most unremarkable, is an economic exchange, he thinks each side wants something But the off the grid hit man character, with no home, no possessions, and no family, is kind of a cliche by now.For those who want a straightforward noir mystery, skip this one There s hardly any action, and while the pall of death is not unusual for noir, this one is positively morbid Meandering, medetative and unselfconciously modern I can t think of anywords beginning with M to describe this but it was brilliant Just the kind of terse, punchy prose that I love Thin on plot and big on story background but you never feel like you re being lead around the houses Everything feels neccessary There are cops and there is a killer but it s not about catching the bad guy Instead Sallis pulls the crime thriller genre inside out, replacing tension and action with a contemp Meandering, medetative and unselfconciously modern I can t think of anywords beginning with M to describe this but it was brilliant Just the kind of terse, punchy prose that I love Thin on plot and big on story background but you never feel like you re being lead around the houses Everything feels neccessary There are cops and there is a killer but it s not about catching the bad guy Instead Sallis pulls the crime thriller genre inside out, replacing tension and action with a contemplation of loss and the poetry of everyday occurrences The end result is a beaut of a novel One of the best things I ve read for a while Towards the end, back when he still lived at home, his father, well along in years fifty plus when he was born , would spend afternoons stalking about the front yard, staring at what was left of the city s curb, at remnants of paint on the side of the house, at abandoned birds nests and tree trunks He had always believed the old man to be thinking About how his life had gone, maybe, or the meaning of it all Slowly he came to understand that the old man wasn t thinking at all, he was search Towards the end, back when he still lived at home, his father, well along in years fifty plus when he was born , would spend afternoons stalking about the front yard, staring at what was left of the city s curb, at remnants of paint on the side of the house, at abandoned birds nests and tree trunks He had always believed the old man to be thinking About how his life had gone, maybe, or the meaning of it all Slowly he came to understand that the old man wasn t thinking at all, he was searching looking aimlessly about, with a dull but persistent hope, for something he d never had The Killer Is Dying The cops are dying Everyone is dying That s something we all have to come to terms with at some point in our lives.It took me an age to read this one even though it s not a long book I started it just before the Olympic Games which, when they began, quickly absorbed much of my attention and spare time It wasn t just my preoccupation with sport that slowed my reading, however That s also down to the fact that there isn t a clear and driving narrative to the story and also because each chapter is dense and powerful and requires a good deal of focus The killer is on a job that goes unexpectedly wrong As we get to know him, we loop back through his life to find his history is colourful and interesting and that he also has a wonderfully philosophical view of the world He s also a very particular kind of hit man and an extremely successful one Hits are set up on the dark web and are advertised as doll sales They re carried out clinically and yet with a form of compassion at the same time.He s been chased down by a couple of cops who are also surrounded by death It s their business They ve seen a lot and each case has had an impact of sorts The cop we get to know well is Sayles What s interesting in this novel is the sense I had that the differences between hunter and prey are minimal They re human and therefore share setbacks and suffering on a regular basis What they have in common is bigger than what they do The third strand comes in the form of a youngster who is forced to bring himself up when his parents leave He makes his living selling interesting items and passes the time by surfing obscure corners of the internet and by reading stories to old folk experiencing their final months down at the local care home He also happens to be confused by a procession of dreams which come from the killer s consciousness.As these parts converge and are woven together, they become so tight that it becomes difficult to distinguish one from another They share a consciousness or a way of being of sorts They re all reflective and tied to their memories as well as being able to see wonder in small things around them.In the end, I was won over by the author I can t really explain why I liked it so much, but can tell you that I loved being in the company of these characters as their lives unfolded before me It was refreshing to be taken on meandering journeys, random tangents and through regular lists of simple things There s just enough in the police investigation to keep the pace moving in a forwards direction Each page has something outstanding to appreciate whether that s a nailed phrase, a moment of poetry, a meditation, a philosophical musing or just a swift kick out at complacency.The Killer Is Dying is light yet meaty Mundane yet exciting Beautiful yet horrifying Oh how I love a contradiction James Sallis continues to amaze me Year after year, the tomes of some authors get larger and larger However James Sallis produces these slim novels of fiction that are terse, poetic and defy categorization The latest have been shelved on the mystery shelf at my library but they would fit just as neatly on the general fiction shelf I hope that mainstream readers are wandering over to the mystery shelves or better yet finding this on the New book shelves that have no category If you want to James Sallis continues to amaze me Year after year, the tomes of some authors get larger and larger However James Sallis produces these slim novels of fiction that are terse, poetic and defy categorization The latest have been shelved on the mystery shelf at my library but they would fit just as neatly on the general fiction shelf I hope that mainstream readers are wandering over to the mystery shelves or better yet finding this on the New book shelves that have no category If you want to buy, you may have to order it I have the devil of a time finding his books in the bookstore When I see them, I usually buy them right away.This book, A Killer is Dying alternates between three viewpoints, but you would be wise to pay attention This waltz occasionally dances 2 3 1 instead of 1 2 3 The three viewpoint characters never meet even though a movie would show them all in at least one scene from the book One viewpoint is the killer of the title who is dying of an unnamed disease He is a perfectionist and the novel follows him as he chooses to find out who bungled the job that he was paid to do The second character is one of the police detectives investigating the attempted murder His wife is dying The third character is a young man who has been abandoned by his parents Struggling to live on his own, he inexplicably begins to share the dreams and nightmares of the contract killer That much, you can learn from the book jacket and I will tell you littleIf you want a standard mystery, the book may disappoint you Sallis is great for observing the rules of a genre and twisting them to his needs On another note, I have already started to see commercials for Drive , based on an earlier novel I am curious what will become of the book when it is transposed to an American movie format American commercial movies are not known for subtlety I read that the Lew Griffen books are also in development I tremble to see what becomes of the main character who is Black, poet and a detective in an American movie Do I sound as cynical as I feel about what I am likely to see on the screen The first thing one perceives on reading the first pages of James Sallis new novel is the literal accuracy of the title The man who calls himself Christian is a contract killer, a Vietnam vet now terminally ill, on his last job A few pages later, something goes awry as the man he has been watching, who he has been hired to kill, is suddenly shot by someone else And Christian is not sure how he feels about that.The second character to whom the reader is introduced is Jimmie, a precocious The first thing one perceives on reading the first pages of James Sallis new novel is the literal accuracy of the title The man who calls himself Christian is a contract killer, a Vietnam vet now terminally ill, on his last job A few pages later, something goes awry as the man he has been watching, who he has been hired to kill, is suddenly shot by someone else And Christian is not sure how he feels about that.The second character to whom the reader is introduced is Jimmie, a precocious youngster who has unexpectedly had to develop some strong survival skills when he is abandoned by his parents Suddenly, and bizarrely, Jimmie begins having vivid dreams The startling thing about this, other than the oddity of his dreaming at all when he was previously unaware of having ever done so in the past, is that the dreams are apparently Christian s And that s just the beginning A dying killer, a philosophizing teenager, a cop whose wife is gravely ill disparate lives which only tangentially intersect, with the p.o.v switching among them, which was briefly disorienting to this reader, but all to fascinating effect.There are small master strokes with pitch perfect thumbnail sketches, several scenes analogizing the actions of birds to those of humans This is a book peopled by characters who are dead or dying and those they leave behind But it is not maudlin, rather, thought provoking It is also full of existential musings The world speaks to us in so many languagesand we understand so fewHe was thinking how kids back in school, kids these days too he was sure, always talked about being bored, and how he could never understand that The way wind moved in the trees, the sheen of sunlight on glass or steel, a fly s wings everything was of interest You just had to pay attention, you just had to look James Sallis, the author of over two dozen volumes, fiction and non fiction alike, has again produced a novel which captured me completely When I read and reviewed one of his earlier books, Salt River, I wrote Mr Sallis spare prose is wonderful, and the novel a deeply affecting one Those words are just as true for this book, and it is, obviously, highly recommended It should perhaps be noted that Mr Sallis next book, Driven, is due out in April of 2012 &Epub ⇻ The Killer Is Dying ☈ A hired killer on his final job, a burned out detective whose wife is dying slowly and in agony, a young boy abandoned by his parents and living alone by his wits Three people, solitary and sundered from societyIn what is at one and the same time a coming of age novel, a realistic crime novel and a novel of the contemporary Southwest, The Killer Is Dying is above all the story of three men of vastly different age and background, and of the shape their lives take against the unforgiving sunlight and sprawl of America s fifth largest city, PhoenixThe detective, Sayles, is looking for the killer, Christian, though he doesn t know that Christian is trying to find the man who stepped in and took down his target before he had the chance And the boy, Jimmie, is having the killer s dreams While they never meet, through the course of the novel, all find community A Will and a Way a burned out detective whose wife is dying slowly and in agony Something Terrible, Something Lovely a young boy abandoned by his parents and living alone by his wits Three people النقد الذاتي بعد الهزيمة solitary and sundered from societyIn what is at one and the same time a coming of age novel Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Games Master Pack a realistic crime novel and a novel of the contemporary Southwest Det svarta hjärtats vilja (Symbaroumsviten, The Killer Is Dying is above all the story of three men of vastly different age and background The Snow Queen - OBER - Grade 2 and of the shape their lives take against the unforgiving sunlight and sprawl of America s fifth largest city Farewell Gulsary PhoenixThe detective Mated To The Vampire Clan Sayles Two Kinds of Love is looking for the killer The New Penguin Atlas of Recent History Christian Tactics though he doesn t know that Christian is trying to find the man who stepped in and took down his target before he had the chance And the boy Mrs Rosie and the Priest Jimmie Vinterviken is having the killer s dreams While they never meet A Slip under the Microscope through the course of the novel The ADA(R) Generic Library all find community This book is shorter than it appears on the account that the chapters are concise and that it s one of those novels that has to start a chapter on the right side So while I did find it to go pretty quickly, it was not because of any invigorating page turning events.It seemed promising at the beginning three different perspectives of guys living in the same town trying to figure things out in life One s a hitman, who by the word of the title, is dying and is confused after finding out that som This book is shorter than it appears on the account that the chapters are concise and that it s one of those novels that has to start a chapter on the right side So while I did find it to go pretty quickly, it was not because of any invigorating page turning events.It seemed promising at the beginning three different perspectives of guys living in the same town trying to figure things out in life One s a hitman, who by the word of the title, is dying and is confused after finding out that someone has taken his assignment and completed it Another is a boy who has been abandoned by his parents and has been living off buying and selling things online The last one is a police officer who has to find out who has actually killed the hitman s assignment I would have expected that the stories of three would weave together in an exciting sort of way, but instead it feels as though Sallis has left each character as they were when they were introduced alone and flat of relationships Of course, it may be that I missed something important, but things felt unfinished and unsatisfying.What I did find out while reading this is that crime novels tend to have this sort of writing style about patterns of life and how monotonous lives people lead I ll make sure to read Drive, but after that, I m giving up on the crime genre Three or four books in for me and Sallis s prose continues to be wonderful For mood and intelligence, style and a hard boiled poetry, I can t find fault I don t mind the lack of focus on the plot but in this case the lack of focus in the plot works less well for me.It s an oblique examination of three men at different stages of life and their own lives, marooned in different though equally bleak ways There is farmusing on life and philosophy than there is action or crime solving and whi Three or four books in for me and Sallis s prose continues to be wonderful For mood and intelligence, style and a hard boiled poetry, I can t find fault I don t mind the lack of focus on the plot but in this case the lack of focus in the plot works less well for me.It s an oblique examination of three men at different stages of life and their own lives, marooned in different though equally bleak ways There is farmusing on life and philosophy than there is action or crime solving and while generally that isthan fine when Sallis is writing, in this case I became a little lost at times Somewhere in the centre of it there is an attempted murder, a thwarted hit man There is also someone dreaming someone else s dreams, which is the element I expected to flounder on but which workseffectively than I might have expected There is blindness, grief, friendship, loneliness and death There is a lot for such a slim book, it s just that occasionally the style createsbarriers than it should