Len Deighton Violent Ward

ISBN 13: 9780061093227

Violent Ward

9780061093227: Violent Ward

If America is a lunatic asylum, then California is the Violent Ward.

Mickey Murphy is a criminal lawyer with an office in LA’s downtown low-rent district, an ex-wife who bleeds him for money, clients who would plead the Fifth Amendment if they could count that high, and an unrequited passion for his wealthiest client’s wife. To make matters worse, Mickey finds himself embroiled against his wishes in an elaborate and clever scam that’s going askew, and being interrogated by the LAPD about a brutal murder.

With an observant eye and ear for the California ‘scene’, Deighton once again uses his brilliant storytelling skills to propel an exciting and suspenseful narrative at breakneck speed to a dramatic climax in a riot-torn city.

This new reissue includes a foreword from the cover designer, Oscar-winning filmmaker Arnold Schwartzman, and a brand new introduction by Len Deighton, which offers a fascinating insight into the writing of the story.

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About the Author:

Born in London, he served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

From Kirkus Reviews:

What's a veteran cold war novelist to do when there's no more cold war? In the case of British spymaster Deighton, head west for a knotty, if zesty, seriocomic thriller set against Aspen snow and L.A. sleaze. You suspect Deighton's off stride when he starts with a small cheat: Mickey Murphy--a rumpled L.A. attorney whose appealingly grumpy narration energizes the story--huddles behind his desk, trying not to frighten ``the woman'' perched on his office window ledge. Mickey finally coaxes ``the woman'' inside--and only then tells us that she's his ex-wife, angling for a handout. Mickey's day goes downhill from there, as he meets with an actor who wants a gun, visits his own wastrel son, and attends a party thrown by Zack Petrovich, the tycoon who's just bought control of Mickey's small law firm--and who's married to his old flame Ingrid. At the party, Mickey chances upon a bomb hidden in Zack's phone: Who's trying to kill his new boss? Is it Ingrid--who claims that Zack wants to kill her? What do these threatened murders have to do with the body-snatching scheme by which one of Mickey's clients will be declared dead in order to run off with an illicit fortune? And who knocked off and then freeze-dried the retired hit man who claimed, just before he died, that Ingrid had asked him to kill Zack? A picturesque visit to Zack's Aspen ranch doesn't clarify matters, but Mickey finds plenty more to grumble about as he tends to his vintage Caddie and mouths off about foreign cars, smoking, lax airport security, and even appliance-repair requirements, meanwhile tying together plot threads right up to a twisty finale that's not half as compelling as the burning cityscape--courtesy of L.A.'s 1992 riots--that backdrops it. Like sugarcoating on a pill, Mickey's lively patter makes the contorted, lumpy storyline easier to swallow--but this kind of bumptious California thriller really isn't Deighton's bag. (First printing of 125,000) -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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