‘Bartulin’s Jack Susko is endearing, nostalgic and exciting in his parochialism — it feels uncommonly good to have Sydney come to life via the printed pages of a neo-noir novel without a hint of the cultural cringe that some domestic novels evoke.’Australian Penthouse
After yet another slow week at the cash register, that fine purveyor of second-hand literature, Susko Books, is facing financial ruin. Jack Susko sets off to a gallery in Woollahra to scrape up some coin with the sale of an old art catalogue. With his usual panache and exquisite timing, he arrives just as De Groot Galleries is being done over by masked thieves. Along with a mysterious object from the safe, the robbers seize a valuable first edition from Jack’s bag, too.
When the owner of the gallery doesn’t want to call the cops, Jack is offered a sizeable sum to keep silent: but when de Groot arrives at the bookshop with his heavy to renege on the deal, all bets are off. With an ease that almost constitutes a gift, Jack Susko finds himself at the centre of a world full of duplicity, lies and art theft.
‘The Black Russian is Bartulin’s second novel featuring second-hand bookseller-turned-detective Jack Susko, and like its 2008 predecessor A Deadly Business, it’s an entertaining, fast-paced crime thriller … Bartulin clearly knows all the tricks of the hard-boiled trade, from the wisecracking amateur detective who’s always in over his head, to the plot twists and double-double crosses that keep you guessing right to the end. This is a fun read with lots of Sydney local colour and is highly recommended to all crime fans.’ FOUR STARSTim Coronel, Bookseller & Publisher
‘Lenny Bartulin [is] Australia’s uniquely ironic answer to Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming.’Jan Hallam, Courier Mail
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‘There’s an admirable precision to the language. The dialogue is snappy and funny. His visual description is fresh and resonant … Those who like their crime fiction fast, funny and offbeat will be rewarded here and will wish Susko Books stays in business for several books more.’Ed Wright, Weekend Australian