The Syracuse Codex

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9780939767526: The Syracuse Codex

Action-packed and witty, this hard-boiled caper is Jim Nisbet at his finest

In The Syracuse Codex, Nisbet returns in a wild tale of skullduggery, mayhem, and history peopled with a rogue’s gallery of the eccentric and unscrupulous.

San Francisco frame maker Danny Kestrel regularly rubs elbows with the rich and immoral at art openings and commissions. But he’s never dreamt of entering their lurid world until Renée Knowles?interior decorator, billionaire’s wife, nymphomaniac?asks for a ride.

When Knowles is murdered soon after their one-night stand, Danny finds himself a prime suspect. Renée’s death has stirred up a hornet’s nest of fabulously crooked and wealthy collectors of black market historical artifacts, all seeking the crown jewel: the eponymous Syracuse Codex, a secret account of Empress Theodora’s illegitimate son. Worse, everyone seems to think Danny has it.

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About the Author:

Jim Nisbet is the author of twelve novels and five books of poetry. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, shortlisted for the Hammett Prize, and published in ten languages. He lives in San Francisco, California.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* "With a thrust of her hips, she met me in a way I'd always wanted to be met." Unfortunately, Renee Knowles is killed before the postcoital bliss has had a chance to wear off, and our narrator, San Francisco picture framer Danny Kestrel, is the cops' top suspect. What starts off like a classic wrong-man thriller turns out to be that--and about 15 other things, each successively more bizarre and compelling. Nisbet, a cult favorite among the French and other noir cognoscenti, pulls out all the stops here, combining genres and subgenres like a coked-up Julia Child tossing ingredients into a bouillabaisse. It turns out that Knowles, an antiques picker for the rich and famous, had stumbled upon the well-traveled and seriously bloody trail of the Syracuse Codex, a Roman Empire artifact already being sought by a hardy band of fortune hunters right out of The Maltese Falcon. Danny, like Sam Spade, lands in the middle of this motley crew and, inevitably, is caught up in the chase. What is this book? Is it The Da Vinci Code with less faux piety and more Hammet style; a bibliothriller dirtied up for the noir crowd; a full-frontal satire of the San Francisco art scene; a Wild at Heart--like love story written by a multisyllabic Barry Gifford? Well, it's all of those, but most important, it's an over-the-top piece of bravura storytelling that grabs you in its helter-skelter narrative frenzy and won't let go. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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