Bookfilter: Noir killer novel
November 29, 2011 6:53 PM   Subscribe

BookFilter: I am hoping the hivemind can help me find a noirish thriller/detective-ish novel I read more than a decade ago about a socially awkward killer and his hot semi-girlfriend.

Here's what I remember. The book would probably have been published in the 1980s or early 1990s; I read it in the mid- or late-1990s.

  • The main character is some kind of hitman or killer; I think he works for some organized crime boss; it is made clear early on that he is a bit "different" socially, kind of autisticish or maybe you'd call him a violence-savant, and has trouble connecting to people.
  • There is a female character, a mobster's girlfriend and/or stripper, whom he first kidnaps and ties up but then they hook up and she helps him out; I think in the end she ditches him for some other dude.
  • One of the ways his intense differentness is portrayed is that he can sink every ball on a pool table with one hit; his social disconnectedness is matched by his being able to do things like sink the pool balls or stab gangsters with ease.
  • I don't remember the overall plot with any clarity, but I think it's one of those where he is betrayed, or maybe the mob boss who employs him is killed, and he has to start killing all kinds of unsympathetic people.
posted by Forktine to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:19 PM on November 29, 2011

I was just coming in to say Motherless Brooklyn too, but saw that it was published in 1999, which is pushing your timeline. If you liked whatever book this was, you might like Motherless Brooklyn too :)
posted by heyforfour at 7:21 PM on November 29, 2011

Response by poster: Definitely not that one (though it sounds like something I would like, and I appreciate the suggestion). He is a killer for hire, not a detective, and although I don't remember if he is given a diagnosis, tourette's isn't right. Again, thanks though, I will be picking up a copy of Letham's book.
posted by Forktine at 7:43 PM on November 29, 2011

Not strictly an answer, since it's a movie, and it's not based on the book you're looking for, but it is a similar theme and you might enjoy it (I did):

Cold Blooded
posted by notbuddha at 8:29 AM on November 30, 2011

For what it's worth, the protagonist in Motherless Brooklyn isn't a career detective; he's a civilian investigating the death of a friend/mentor.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:27 PM on November 30, 2011

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