Author Spotlight: Scott Adlerberg

Scott Adlerberg is an author who I first read a couple of years ago and on finishing Spiders and Flies I felt I should share my reviews of all his works as he is definitely one of the most unique writers in the indie crime sphere. I've labelled him as part of the crime world, but his books go much further than that tag and it is really difficult to do his books justice in review as you don't want to impart with the wilder happenings in his books, but as well as crime, there is magical realism, historical fiction in terms of genre and a dreamy, lyrical quality to the writing. Without further ado, here are my reviews, starting with Spiders and Flies, my most recent read and going through my past Adlerberg reads.

Spiders and FliesSpiders and Flies by Scott Adlerberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I've compared Adlerberg with Paul Auster before and the prologue here sent me to that place again as we get a dream-like sequence about the crime that Raven has committed sending him into hiding on the Carribbean island of Martinique. Following what I can only describe as the longest and possibly greatest prologue I've ever read we slip into third person narration from first person and get the perspectives of all involved in Raven's latest plot.

This is a noir that goes above and beyond the usual scope and throws in weird characters or incidents that stick in the memory. Karate midgets, porn addicts, disfigured best friends and rich and depraved parents make up a despicable cast clawing for their own motives.

I'd highly recommend this one if you are looking for a little bit more with your noir.

Summerfield's FilmSummerfield's Film by Scott Adlerberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tyler is a failed novelist/former film critic/stay at home dad, who decides to investigate a strange woman he's encountered numerous times at cinemas in New York. He follows her back to her apartment building one night only to discover the name of reclusive director, K.M. Summerfield, on one of the buzzers. Summerfield becomes the focus of Tyler's "investigation" as he seeks to find Summerfield's last film, which was never released.

This one reminded me of something Paul Auster might write, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's just a short story, but I decided to take a small taste of Adlerberg to see what I thought as some things I've read have described him as an acquired taste. Consider the taste acquired!

Jack WatersJack Waters by Scott Adlerberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1904, Jack Waters is a dandy poker player with a rigid code of honour that soon has him on the run after killing a card cheat. He flees to a Carribbean island only to be cheated in a card game by the country's president and soon seeks vengeance against him.

This novel is written in a classic style harking back to the turn of the 20th Century where the book is based. It's not haughty or stuffy though and zips along at a fair rate. From the limited Adlerberg work I've read he appears to be a gifted writer and the show notes for the latest episode of J. David Osborne's podcast describes Adlerberg as "one of the only writers doing whatever the fuck he wants.". It shows with this novel as it's very much unlike any of the other new releases I expect to read in the coming year.

It's a fine novel and I sensed a political undertone to it with the way the country was allowed to run with US interests dominating the ways of the island and much of the actual landmass and feel like this is something that continued on even into the 80s and 90s and possibly even up to today.

There are a couple more Adlerberg novels out there, which I'll be looking to read sometime in the near(ish) future.

Jungle HorsesJungle Horses by Scott Adlerberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm of a mind that there is nobody else out there quite writing books like Scott Adlerberg. This book is a wonder as the story segues in a direction that is totally unexpected. Arthur spends his days betting at the race track and conceals this from his wife who is conducting a relationship with their neighbour, Vaughn, with Arthur's full knowledge and consent.

I'm not sure what else to write without giving much away, but this book is great and well worth a read.


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