The French fascination with noir is demonstrated in this unsatisfying novella about a casino heist in an anonymous coastal city. The book starts with the release of the narrator's partner, Marin, from jail after three years. The two are part of a tiny "family" of gangsters with a bedridden old man as godfather. Led by Marin, the gang is just tough enough to control a small piece of the action, but are minor players in the underworld. Marin emerges from jail with a grand scheme to rob a casino in what will be "the absolute perfection of crime". The narrator and another gang member, Andrei, realize that the job is beyond them and it will all end badly, yet true to the noir form, they accept the inevitability of fate and go along with everything. It's all atmosphere and terse sentences as the group plans, and then in an odd shift, the narrator describes the actual heist in a reenacting for a judge. Clearly things didn't quite work out, and indeed, the "absolute perfection" disintegrated in in a shootout with the cops. The final part of the story shows the narrator emerging from jail after seven years to track down his betrayer and exact revenge. Even though all the elements are there: betrayal, death, a beautiful woman, a heist, revenge- it's never all that interesting. Perhaps because it's little more than homage to a hundred films and books we've already seen and read, and has no voice of its own. If you're really after French noir, I'd suggest finding one of Jean-Patrick Manchette's recently translated books from the '70s, like The Prone Gunman.