The Straw Men is the most eagerly anticipated book of the year. Michael Marshall's unique voice adds a chilling intensity to the serial-killer plot, combining dazzling narrative, a white-hot pace and a deeply disturbing backdrop of conspiracy.
Sarah tries to struggle, but the man holds her. The scream never makes it out of her throat. 'Nobody watching,' the man says with hateful calm. 'I made it this way. I can walk where nobody sees.'
The Straw Men. They kill people. Any people. And soon they’ll get around to you.
Sarah Becker is the fifth girl to be abducted by this maniac. Judging from the state of the bodies that have been found, her long hair will be hacked off and she will be tortured. She has about a week to live. Former LA homicide detective John Zandt has an inside track on the perpetrator – his own daughter was one of his victims two years ago. But the key to Sarah's whereabouts lies with Ward Hopkins, a man with a past so secret not even he knows about it. His parents have just died in a car accident, but they leave Ward a very strange message that leads him to question everything he once believed to be true. As he begins to investigate his own past Ward finds himself drawn into the shadowy, sinister world of the Straw Men – and into the desperate race to find Sarah, before her time runs out.
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With The Straw Men, Michael Marshall Smith moves impressively from being a promising author of surreal mid-list novels which draw equally on sf, fantasy and noir thriller into new and even darker territory.
Teenage Sarah is kidnapped in LA and subjected to the endless mad rants of the man who has nailed her under the floorboards, who is slowly starving her as he has others before. Burned-out cop Zandt, whose own daughter was taken and never seen again, is called back into the investigation by his FBI ex-mistress. Drunken, off-the-rails, ex-CIA Wade investigates the things which do not add up in the deaths of the parents he did not know as well as he thought he did. This is a book whose ambiguously heroic heroes share an almost comic ruthlessness with its villains and yet which never ceases to draw a clear line between the merely wrong and the profoundly wicked. Along the way, both the nature of the underlying conspiracy and the smart moves needed to track it down are created with remorseless ingenuity.
Marshall Smith has the skill to create motives and moves that are at once insane, plausible and contemporary. --Roz KaveneyReview:
‘The crucial thing about Michael Marshall Smith is that he is enormously readable… once you have started reading one of his books, you won’t want to stop until you have finished it … He has the talent to become the inspiration to a generation of writers’
‘Humour, a cracking pace and fluid prose… Sizzling… Michael Marshall Smith has a Crichton-like knack of attracting film studios’
‘Outstanding, highly original… fiercely funny, and hugely entertaining’
THE LITERARY REVIEW
‘As always with the fiercely inventive Smith, the rug of reality is exhilaratingly pulled from under the reader’s feet’
‘No one writes better than Smith about love: how it’s won, how it’s lost. No one writes better about being wasted – by drugs, by drink, by time. Nigh-on unique’
‘A storytelling skill that can only be described as pure genius’
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Book Description HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS LTD, 2002. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Sarah Becker is the fifth girl to be abducted in recent years. But the key to her whereabouts lies with Ward Hopkins, a man with a past so secret not even he knows about it. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0002256010
Book Description HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS LTD, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002256010
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Book Description HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS LTD, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110002256010