Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pg. 99: Wallace Stroby's "The Heartbreak Lounge"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Wallace Stroby's The Heartbreak Lounge.

About the book, from the author's website:
Johnny Harrow is back home in New Jersey after seven years in a Florida prison - and he has some scores to settle. Foremost is with his ex girlfriend, Nikki Ellis, who gave their child up for adoption and wants Johnny out of her life forever. As Johnny follows her trail through the back alleys and barrooms of the Jersey Shore, Nikki turns to ex-state trooper Harry Rane to protect her. But even Harry isn't quite prepared for the murderous force of nature that is Johnny Harrow...
Among the praise for The Heartbreak Lounge:
"In a brilliant follow-up to his impressive debut ("The Barbed-Wire Kiss"), Stroby continues the hard-boiled adventures of Harry Rane...The denouement is bloody, explosive, and deeply satisfying. Harry Rane walks these mean streets perfectly at home with the icons: Spade, Marlowe, and Archer."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Stroby worked the formula of the noir crime novel like an old pro in "The Barbed-Wire Kiss,' which captured the bleak aura of desolation in Jersey Shore communities where petty crooks and racketeers rub elbows with car dealers and fishermen at the local topless bar. Stroby is back on this marginal social turf...writing with such fierce originality that he rejuvenates genre conventions. Johnny Harrow is an electrifying character."
--New York Times

"The Heartbreak Lounge is a great pleasure, a crime novel full of fully realized characters - good guys and bad - plot moves as complex and surprising as real life, and raw, tough, gritty prose and scenes. This is the real stuff. It makes the Sopranos seem like a domestic spat at a family picnic in the park. I loved it."
--James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss

"Wallace Stroby's first book about ex-New Jersey State Trooper Harry Rane, "The Barbed-Wire Kiss," found some tough, sharp new things to say ... The Heartbreak Lounge is even better."
--Chicago Tribune

"Straight-ahead, no-frills noir just the way I like it. Stroby combines two interlocking narratives with just the right amount of tension, builds character development and plot points through the use of dialogue, and adds even more melancholic layers to Harry Rane's lonely life. Where he'll go from here, it's hard to say, but he better come back soon."
--Sarah Weinman

Wallace Stroby is an award-winning journalist and the author of the novels The Heartbreak Lounge and The Barbed-Wire Kiss. A graduate of Rutgers University, Stroby is an editor at the Star-Ledger of Newark, Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper.

Learn more about the author and his novels at the official Wallace Stroby website and The Heartbreak Blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Heartbreak Lounge.

--Marshal Zeringue