Friday, March 18, 2011

The Take / Mike Dennis

Genre: Crime Fiction/Noir

Approximate word count: 50-55,000

Availability Kindle: YES    Nook: YES    DTB: YES


One thing is obvious about Mike Dennis, he isn’t afraid of risk. He spent thirty years working as a professional musician, despite what many people think this a vocation in which very few manage to make a living. He threw that away, moving last year from Key West to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player, what successful long-time poker pros describe as “a hard way to make an easy living.” Writing on the side seems relatively risk free. Previously he has had multiple short stories published in anthologies.


Bookie Eddie Ryan finds himself in a hole after taking one-sided action on a sure thing that turned out not so sure. A loan shark bails Eddie out, but he can’t make the weekly payment. A friend’s brilliant idea that will pull him out of the hole forever goes bad and Ryan’s on the run, avoiding another hole that’s six-feet deep with his name on top.


Descriptions of The Take describe it as noir (also known as black fiction). I always have to look up the word noir when I see it used. I have a sense what it means, but can’t put it into words without prodding. According to Wikipedia, the website that knows everything, noir is a subset of “hardboiled fiction” (think Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, or more recently Robert Parker and Walter Mosley). The noir subset differs mainly in that the protagonist is typically not a detective, as is usually the case with a hardboiled novel, and tends to be self-destructive. Elmore Leonard is an example of a contemporary bestseller writing in this literary style.

From the synopsis above, it should be apparent that Eddie Ryan is a self-destructive protagonist. I’ll often not find this type of character sympatric, yet Eddie was different. He took a bit of a gamble, let’s call it a risk instead, just as any businessperson might. All his actions after that are a matter of doing what he thinks he must to survive.

Eddie’s adventures will keep you on edge as he struggles to survive as you both try to decide whom he should trust. Whether he will escape and what price Eddie will have to pay is unclear until the end. Fan’s of Elmore Leonard should find Mike Dennis an author worth watching – and worth reading.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** 4 Stars


Mike Dennis said...

Thanks for the good words, Al. Much appreciated.

Joanna Schmida said...

Interesting that you compare Mike Dennis to Elmore Leonard, Al. I felt the same way when I read his work. No wordiness to plough through--just a riveting story, some great characters, and plenty of suspense with a surprise at the end. He has a new book coming out called "Man-Slaughter". Watch for it!

Joanna Schmida, author "The Woman at the Light"

TimCote7 said...

Sounds great. Just as a note, I think Noir can be summed up as art that allows the true shadows of the fallen nature to be cast on all of its subjects.