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Three to Kill Paperback – Feb 2 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Serpents Tail (Feb. 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852424753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852424756
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,500,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
And sometimes what used to happen was what is happening now: Georges Gerfaut is driving on Paris's outer ring road. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1976, this slim French crime novel has just now been translated into English. The story follows a typical noir theme: an average man thrown into an underworld intrigue entirely by chance. Georges is a mid-level manager in Paris with a wife, two young daughters, and a collection of West coast jazz records. His life has gotten a little humdrum, and so fate thrusts him in the path of two nasty and well-drawn hitmen. After he unwittingly witnesses a murder, the duo track him down in order to tie up loose ends. Although the plot trods a familiar path, Manchette's terse prose, filled with dark humor and ably translated, keeps it fresh and absorbing. And as in much noir, Manchette exhibits an underlying thread of anti-confomism. Manchette wrote nine other crime novels for Gallimard's legendary Série Noir imprint, another of which (The Prone Gunman) is also being published by City Lights.
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Format: Paperback
Only two Manchette books have been translated into English and this is the first one I read. The book is tightly written and exciting, which, of course, is why one would read a crime noir book in the first place. The lean plot provides enough to explain the episodic spurts of violence contained within, but is not so detailed as to turn the book into a traditional mystery. My complaints, which prevent a five star rating, are that the main character takes a hiatus away from the action which I found a bit unrealistic (I don't want to provide more details and spoil anything) and the ending was a bit more loose and unresolved than the rest of the book. Nonetheless, I look forward to reading Manchette's other translated book, The Prone Gunman, and hope other translations will follow.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Still Fresh 25 Years Later July 21 2002
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1976, this slim French crime novel has just now been translated into English. The story follows a typical noir theme: an average man thrown into an underworld intrigue entirely by chance. Georges is a mid-level manager in Paris with a wife, two young daughters, and a collection of West coast jazz records. His life has gotten a little humdrum, and so fate thrusts him in the path of two nasty and well-drawn hitmen. After he unwittingly witnesses a murder, the duo track him down in order to tie up loose ends. Although the plot trods a familiar path, Manchette's terse prose, filled with dark humor and ably translated, keeps it fresh and absorbing. And as in much noir, Manchette exhibits an underlying thread of anti-confomism. Manchette wrote nine other crime novels for Gallimard's legendary Série Noir imprint, another of which (The Prone Gunman) is also being published by City Lights.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good New Discovery Dec 1 2003
By Dash Manchette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Only two Manchette books have been translated into English and this is the first one I read. The book is tightly written and exciting, which, of course, is why one would read a crime noir book in the first place. The lean plot provides enough to explain the episodic spurts of violence contained within, but is not so detailed as to turn the book into a traditional mystery. My complaints, which prevent a five star rating, are that the main character takes a hiatus away from the action which I found a bit unrealistic (I don't want to provide more details and spoil anything) and the ending was a bit more loose and unresolved than the rest of the book. Nonetheless, I look forward to reading Manchette's other translated book, The Prone Gunman, and hope other translations will follow.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
One for the List Jan. 31 2006
By A. McNary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Neo-noir and a touch existentialist, 3 to Kill reads a bit like a Charles Willeford and James M. Cain novel. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I found the veering plotline to be the most satisfying aspect of the novel. Protagonist Georges Gerfaut is a traveling salesman pursued by hitmen--this experience, in isolation, and the choices he makes in response, inform the socio-political critique, albeit an ironic one, of the novel. 3 to Kill is also reminiscent of a story within the story in The Maltese Falcon where Marlowe recounts a missing person case: A man, nearly killed by a falling beam as he walks down the sidewalk turns up missing. When Marlowe finds him he is living in a nearby town with a new life nearly identical to his former one. Marlowe's point, and one of Manchette's as well, is that while our response to a life-changing event might be dramatic, in the end, the change in our character is nominal. This dense, fast-moving read is something that any reader of Hammett, Chandler, Cain, Goodis, Willeford and Derek Raymond will want to check out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Review Aug. 2 2012
By CB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first novel I've read in some time. I was not disappointed

This book was surprisingly good, given the genre and the short page count. One could easily read this in a single sitting. The pacing is solid and static, and the plot is relatively probable for a crime fiction novel. A few moments of action, conducted by the main character, are somewhat over the top, but not unbearable.

Its clear Manchette wrote this novel after the Paris 68 left-wing uprisings. And, his analysis of society is tolerable Marxism. The main character, Georges, is a 'reformed' leftist, entirely defined by his career, and socio-economic position in society. As Manchette states, Georges actions are primarily defined by his relations within the social relations of production. Georges is clearly alienated, and living a perfunctory existence of the 'bourgeoisie' dream: high paying job, kids, a fattening wife, and constant after-work alcohol to wash back banal existence itself. Even compensated vacations cannot properly detox the demons of white collar existence.

After some rather gritty and lurid events take place, Georges is entirely displaced from the mode of production he once fought against, and experiences several chapters becoming the classic Marxist 'new man.' The revolution he fought for in 68 is experienced existentially over the course of a year in an ecological environment divorced from the ever growing urban environment he previously worked in. Of course individual reform and revolution is never enough, and Georges returns to resolve the nefarious matters that have sent him into hiding in the first place.

Without my going into any spoiler-esque detail, the book ends with a narrative reflection that given the right social relations of productions - and not pure individual initiative - Georges could have been anything from a true revolutionary fighter, to a feckless turd. Individual moments may send us catapulting in a direction we never could foresee, but the gears of capitalism keep on grinding, as white-noise, inevitably preventing the exercising of our, and Georges, full potential.
Purely on its merits as prose, it's simply dreadful Nov. 30 2013
By NoteBleue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's not a good sign when the film adaptation is better than the book, usually it's the other way around. At least, the film version, made in 1980 as a routine Alain Delon vehicle, is more coherent and has better dialogue. Manchette writes in telegrammatic and meandering style that sometimes reads like a shopping catalog: "...then went over to the Sanyo stereo and began very quietly playing Shelley Manne with Conte Candoli and Billy Russo... and lit another Gitane filter with his Criquet lighter..." Maybe other people are attracted to the less familiar setting or Manchette's ideology. Purely on its merits as prose, it's simply dreadful.

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