The singer's gun

Emily St. John Mandel, 1979-

Book - 2010

Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear. And Aria begins blackmailing him to do one last job for her. But the seemingly simple job proves to have profound and unexpected repercussions. As Anton's carefully constructed life begins to disintegrate around him, he's forced to choose between loyalty to his family and his desires for a differe...nt kind of life. When everyone is willing to use someone else to escape the past, it is up to Anton, on the island of Ischia, to face the ghosts that travel close behind him.

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FICTION/Mandel, Emily St. John
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[Lakewood, Colo.?] : Unbridled Books c2010.
Main Author
Emily St. John Mandel, 1979- (-)
Physical Description
287 p. ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Mandel's follow-up to Last Night in Montreal (2009) revolves around a family of thieves. Anton Waker is trying to escape his family's legacy of dishonesty by getting a job as a manager at a water-systems consulting firm, though in order to do so, he has to obtain a fake college diploma. The house of cards Anton has built threatens to come crashing down around him when a zealous State Department investigator forces his secretary to spy on him in the hopes he'll reveal details about his days of selling counterfeit Social Security cards and passports with his cousin Aria. The danger only increases when Aria blackmails Anton into doing one last job for her delivering a package on his honeymoon. When his reluctant bride storms off after finding he has to spend more time on the Italian island of Ischia than they'd originally planned, Anton is left with time to contemplate his marriage, his family, and what the future holds. A gripping, thoughtful meditation on work, family, and the consequences of major life choices.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Mandel (Last Night in Montreal) attempts a globe-spanning crime novel, but the clunky, lukewarm result will please neither thriller aficionados nor more literary-minded readers. Anton Waker, a Manhattan water systems consultant, finds that his world is slowly imploding as his shadowy past as a document forger comes back to haunt him. Compounding his troubles is his alluring and Machiavellian cousin, Aria Waker, who is conspiring to reel him back in for one last big score. All the while, hard-nosed State Department G-woman Alexandra Broden is closing in on the forgery ring. Along the way-the narrative travels from New York to Canada to Italy-Anton must also come to grips with his crumbling marriage and an office romance. While Mandel's prose is brisk, the narrative reads like a slightly dressed-up B-movie screenplay-flat, stocked with one-dimensional characters, and relying on awkward flashbacks to explain away character motivations. But the biggest problem is the narrative's blandness: the sex isn't sexy and the violence isn't especially violent. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Anton Waker simply wanted to have an office job, a home, and a family. He never wanted to participate in his family's shady business dealings. His parents traffic in stolen goods, and he's been helping cousin Aria sell forged documents to illegal immigrants. Now he has a comfortable management job, but then Aria blackmailed him into doing one last job for her, and all prospects for a normal life seemed lost. In this intricate novel, her second after Last Night in Montreal, Mandel underscores the notion that everything in life comes with a price tag, and sometimes that cost is remarkably high. Although some situations seem contrived, overall the construction of the novel is unique and compelling. The story leaps from New York to Canada to Italy, unfolding slowly, allowing the reader only limited knowledge about the characters and their motivations until the ending. Verdict An intriguing and suspenseful read that will appeal to those who like mysteries.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.