Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Book: Moony's Road to Hell

Here's the thing about this book - it is, like all of Manuel Ramos's novels, beautifully written. The man is a poet. The Jordans of Crimespree Magazine recommend the book as a "noir" classic. Noir purists will argue perhaps, but I can say this much - this isn't an emotional roller coaster ride. It's more like that ride where they just drop you from a height and you pray like hell that there are brakes that'll kick in before the concrete comes up to smash you to pieces. Except in this book there are no brakes.

The Moony of the title is a private eye - Danny Mora. It turns out an INS agent is murdered. There's a chance he was dirty. There's a chance he was in love with a crime boss's wife. There's a chance he earned his bullet. And there's a chance that there's a much larger story of corruption and cover-up at play here.

For myself as a reader, all that matters very little. For me, what matters is the silk of the prose and the fact that every character, even ones that are on the fringes of the story or just passing, they're all drawn masterfully, humanly. They become real. And it's a short book. Not War and Peace where there are pages that can be used to draw a character. Ramos is a fine artist. You feel for the people on the page and when truly terrible things happen, they happen to you as much as to any of the people you meet. And the ending will leave you cold - chilled.

Now, getting hold of this book is not always easy. Amazon doesn't always have it in stock. Still, they're not that hard to come by and the effort will be repaid, believe me.

I gave one away last year. You should have been there. If you ask nicely, I have a different Manuel Ramos book to give away. Ballad of Gato Guerrero. Another miniature masterpiece. As are all of his books:

Brown on Brown
The Last Client of Luis Montez
The Ballad of Rocky Ruiz
The Ballad of Gato Guerrero
Blues for the Buffalo
and of course...
Moony's Road to Hell

Enjoy!

6 Comments:

Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Steven. Feel free to come back with more.

May 09, 2008 6:59 AM  
Blogger Jen Jordan said...

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I don't know one person who's read it that the ending hasn't left utterly slack-jawed.

May 09, 2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Manuel Ramos is such a great author. It's one of the really fucked up things about publishing that he's not with a major house selling thousands of books.
Hell, even the intro he wrote for Volume 10 of 100 Bullets is amazing.

And Moony's Road to Hell really is sheer genius.
Every time some one tells me they wrote a noir book, I compare it to this.

May 11, 2008 12:44 AM  
Blogger Patricia J. Hale said...

Thanks for the tip, gonna read it!

May 17, 2008 2:06 PM  
Blogger Daniel Olivas said...

Great comments on a wonderful novel...I make note of your post on today's La Bloga:

http://labloga.blogspot.com/2008/05/spotlight-on-michael-sarabia.html

May 19, 2008 11:37 AM  
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