Three to Kill
Businessman Georges Gerfaut witnesses a murder—and is pursued by the killers. His conventional life knocked off the rails, Gerfaut turns the tables and sets out to track down his pursuers. Along the way, he learns a thing or two about himself. . . . Manchette—masterful stylist, ironist, and social critic—limns the cramped lives of professionals in a neoconservative world."Manchette has appropriated and subverted the classic thriller [with] descriptions of undiluted action, violence and suspense [and] a perspective on evil, a disenchanted world of manipulation and fury . . . ." —Times Literary Supplement"The petty exigencies of the classic thriller find themselves summarily reduced to cremains by the fiery blue jets of Jean-Patrick Manchette's concision, intelligence, tension, and style." —Jim Nisbet, author of Lethal Injection and Prelude to a Scream"Manchette is a must for the reading lists of all noir fans. . . . Manchette deserves a higher profile among noir fans." —Publishers Weekly"Manchette . . . performs miracles within this simple story. His style is very matter of fact, stark and almost cool like the jazz his hero or anti-hero Gerfaut devours at every opportunity. Yet in this short novel there is no lack of atmosphere, excitement, characters or descriptive writing, it is just the total lack of unnecessary material that makes the story seem so lean and mean." —Norman Price, EuroCrime"A social satire cum suspense equally interested in dissecting everyday banalities and manufacturing thrills. Writing with economy, deadpan irony, and an eye for the devastating detail, Manchette spins pulp fiction into literature." —Kirkus Reviews"While there isn’t much that’s obviously moral—in the good-versus-evil sense—[this novel] demonstrate[s] why Manchette is hailed as the man who kicked the French crime novel or “polar” out of the apolitical torpor into which it had fallen by the time he started publishing his “neo-polars” in the 1970s. . . . Grim and cerebral as they feel, it’s remarkable how comic—in an absurdist, laugh-or-you’ll-cry way—these books are, as if Manchette had decided that poking fun at the products of the capitalist system were the fittest way to attack the system itself." —Jennifer Howard, Boston Review"The pace is fast, the action sequences are superb, and the effect is just as striking as it must have been when the book was first published in 1976." —Laura Wilson, The Guardian"[T]he novel is brilliantly written, replete with allusions to art, literature, and music, papered with the very texture and furniture of our lives. Manchette is Camus on overdrive, at one and the same time white-hot, ice-cold. He deserves much the same attention." —James Sallis, Review of Contemporary FictionJean-Patrick Manchette (1942—1995) rescued the French crime novel from the grip of stodgy police procedurals — restoring the noir edge by virtue of his post-1968 leftism. Today, Manchette is a totem to the generation of French mystery writers who came in his wake. Jazz saxophonist, political activist, and screen writer, Manchette was influenced as much by Guy Debord as by Gustave Flaubert. City Lights has published more of work, including The Gunman.

Three to Kill Details

TitleThree to Kill
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 2002
PublisherCity Lights Publishers
ISBN-139780872863958
Rating
GenreMystery, Noir, Crime, Fiction, Cultural, France

Three to Kill Review

  • Glenn Russell
    January 1, 1970
    Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) – French crime novelist who revived the genre in France beginning in the 1970s with his super-cool style of extreme violence mixed with caustic social and political commentary.In Elmore Leonard’s novel Tishomingo Blues stunt diver Dennis Lenahan, an honest, straightlaced athlete, is practicing his stunt platform diving eighty feet above a pool of water behind a Tunica, Mississippi hotel when he witnesses a murder and is subsequently embroiled in the murky, dead Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) – French crime novelist who revived the genre in France beginning in the 1970s with his super-cool style of extreme violence mixed with caustic social and political commentary.In Elmore Leonard’s novel Tishomingo Blues stunt diver Dennis Lenahan, an honest, straightlaced athlete, is practicing his stunt platform diving eighty feet above a pool of water behind a Tunica, Mississippi hotel when he witnesses a murder and is subsequently embroiled in the murky, deadly world of crime. It’s this clashing of two worlds that makes Leonard’s novel so compelling. Same thing for Three to Kill where Georges Gerfaut, an everyday kind of guy, a company manager, an engineer by education, through the simple act of providing aid to a victim of a car crash, becomes a prime target for two seasoned hit men.I am not giving anything away here since right in the first chapters we come across an example of the author’s slick foreshadowing: “The attempt on Gerfaut’s life did not take place immediately, but it was not long in coming: just three days.” Through all the fast-paced action, think of films such as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, music blares on radios and stereos, jazz or popular singers like Leonard Cohen, no big surprise, since jazz and popular music are kings in this snazzy, hip world. And let’s recall Jean-Patrick Manchette was himself a jazz sax player. Also, cars and guns are given a special call out, for such cool new crime fiction we have not just a red sedan but a Lancia Beta 1800; not just a target pistol but a SIG P210-5 9mm automatic. These souped-up objects pack the punch, provide the speed, add a dash of glamour and give the men and women in Manchette’s world an enhanced identity.Even more than his jazz sax, let’s not forget Manchette was also involved in leftist Marxist politics prior to becoming a crime writer. His interest in politics, specifically the pitfalls and corrosiveness of capitalism comes through loud and clear, for example, one of the characters, a kingpin of killing from the Dominican Republic, was a leader in the military responsible for torturing and murdering peasants and poor people affiliated with revolutionary leftist, anti-capitalists. The lesson to be learned: how money and power corrupt and quickly lead to violence, a way of dealing with problems that spills over into the general society where anyone can be the victim of an eruption of violence in the least likely of places, swimming among a crown at a beach or pumping gas at a service station.In such a modern world, life imitates art, men and women continually envision themselves as a character in a work of contemporary fiction, or more usually, an American action film. This is exactly the case when Georges Gerfaut finds himself in a life-threatening predicament that reminds him both of a crime novel and a American Western. Such is life in the late twentieth century - images and memories are linked not with classical literature or lessons learned in school but with popular culture and the crustiness of the here and now. Thus, these great lines: “From an aesthetic point of view, the landscape was highly romantic. From Gerfaut’s point of view, it was absolute shit.”Fortunately, the world still contains people who are not all about greed and ego – an old man helps Gerfaut not to be paid but for that good old-time feeling: compassion for another human being. On the other end of the spectrum, Gerfaut encounters a young lady who tells him, “When I was nineteen I married a surgeon. He was crazily in love with me, the moron. It was only a civil marriage. We were divorced after five years, and I took him for every penny I could get.” We might think Manchette is making an observation about the older and younger generations but this would be short-sighted since there are other oldsters who exhibit a fair share of greed and ego and younger people who are kind. Perhaps this is the more accurate expression of the author’s philosophy: as powerful as social forces can be, we are still free to choose what type of people we become.Life is rarely all black and white. Manchette captures the humanity of the two hit men, their squabbling, their fatigue, their suffering, even their tastes in food and reading material, the young one likes comics, especially Spiderman. And that kingpin of killing, Alonso, boss of the two hit men, has warm, fuzzy feelings for Elizabeth, his bull mastiff, occasionally giving her an extra helping of meat. Alonso also enjoys listening to Mendelssohn or Liszt and reads war novels by C.S. Forester when he isn’t looking at photos in Playboy and masturbating, mostly without success.I can imagine many readers in France and elsewhere over the years have put themselves in Georges Gerfaut’s shoes. Even the meekest accountant-type has dreams of adventure and danger but, alas, the vast majority of middle-aged men (and women) are never attacked by hit men or take up automatic weapons to extract revenge against a killer. That’s the way it goes – at least they can read about Georges. One last reflection. I read where critic Chris Morgan cites how Manchette would find today’s noir alien to his sensibilities since such as the films of David Lynch are voyeuristic rather than crusading, viewing depravity at a safe distance rather than confronting such degrading behavior directly. For Jean-Patrick Manchette morality is a key to building a good society and his cool, violent novels served as his vehicle to wake people up to this truth. And in such a cool, slick way.Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995)
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    I so love this book. Originally published in 1976 and republished by City Light Books of San Francisco in 2002, it seems the blueprint for some of the best cinema of the past twenty years. It has the unmistakable tongue-in-cheek wildly casual violence of a film like Get Shorty but does it with such savoir faire that one knows this author is a true original. I note the author died a young man in 1995, but he wrote for the cinema also and indeed many scenes in this delightfully concise crime novel I so love this book. Originally published in 1976 and republished by City Light Books of San Francisco in 2002, it seems the blueprint for some of the best cinema of the past twenty years. It has the unmistakable tongue-in-cheek wildly casual violence of a film like Get Shorty but does it with such savoir faire that one knows this author is a true original. I note the author died a young man in 1995, but he wrote for the cinema also and indeed many scenes in this delightfully concise crime novel seem to contain their own stage direction.A successful, disdainful sales executive finds himself first to the scene of a car wreck, and having delivered the injured motorist to the hospital, finds himself pursued by hitmen. It was such a relief to find myself in the hands of a master after a string of effortful new novels: slightly over 100 pages in length, it offers more delight than many do with three times the length. This is as much a classic as a Dashiell Hammett mystery and one hopes and expects Manchette is better known in France than he is abroad.
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  • Makis Dionis
    January 1, 1970
    Ένας εραστής της τζαζ, της λογοτεχνίας, του καλού σκοτσέζικου/ενίοτε και μπερμπον, ένας εραστής της ζωής, χωρίς απαραίτητα αρχή, μέση και τέλος..J.P. Manchette
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  • FotisK
    January 1, 1970
    Ίσως ο μοναδικός μη-Αμερικανός που θα μπορούσε να υπερηφανευθεί πως έγραψε Noir ως… Αμερικανός (όπως αντίστοιχα ο Jean-Pierre Melville, είναι ο μόνος Ευρωπαίος που έκανε κάτι αντίστοιχο στο σινεμά). Πρόκειται φυσικά για τιμητικό τίτλο, δεδομένου πως το είδος αυτό αποτελεί γέννημα-θρέμμα της απέναντι όχθης του Ατλαντικού. Διευκρινίζω εδώ πως -σε αντίθεση με τα βρετανικά αστυνομικά, τα σκανδιναβικά θρίλερ κ.ο.κ.- το Noir είναι Λογοτεχνία και οι συγγραφείς που ασχολήθηκαν (οι καλύτεροι εξ αυτών) Λο Ίσως ο μοναδικός μη-Αμερικανός που θα μπορούσε να υπερηφανευθεί πως έγραψε Noir ως… Αμερικανός (όπως αντίστοιχα ο Jean-Pierre Melville, είναι ο μόνος Ευρωπαίος που έκανε κάτι αντίστοιχο στο σινεμά). Πρόκειται φυσικά για τιμητικό τίτλο, δεδομένου πως το είδος αυτό αποτελεί γέννημα-θρέμμα της απέναντι όχθης του Ατλαντικού. Διευκρινίζω εδώ πως -σε αντίθεση με τα βρετανικά αστυνομικά, τα σκανδιναβικά θρίλερ κ.ο.κ.- το Noir είναι Λογοτεχνία και οι συγγραφείς που ασχολήθηκαν (οι καλύτεροι εξ αυτών) Λογοτέχνες. Ο Manchette ήταν από τους κορυφαίους του είδους – στυλίστας που θα μπορούσε άνετα να εισέλθει στο Πάνθεον, δίπλα στον αγαπημένο του R. Chandler. Το "Μελαγχολικό κομμάτι…" ανήκει στις κορυφαίες του στιγμές.
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  • Nick Pageant
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent, very fast-paced thriller. Loved it!
  • Jacob
    January 1, 1970
    Most folks who find themselves pursued by hired killers after witnessing a murder would roll over and give up, but not Georges Gerfaut. Gerfaut is a pretty tough dude, much to his surprise. Three people want him dead? They're welcome to try, if Gerfaut doesn't get them first.Three to Kill is another slim thriller from Jean-Patrick Manchette (who writes twice as well as most Americans, and at half the length), and it is so much better than Fatale. After Manchette's first book, I was intrigued. Af Most folks who find themselves pursued by hired killers after witnessing a murder would roll over and give up, but not Georges Gerfaut. Gerfaut is a pretty tough dude, much to his surprise. Three people want him dead? They're welcome to try, if Gerfaut doesn't get them first.Three to Kill is another slim thriller from Jean-Patrick Manchette (who writes twice as well as most Americans, and at half the length), and it is so much better than Fatale. After Manchette's first book, I was intrigued. After this one, I'm a fan. It's damn near perfect. Check it out.
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  • Toby
    January 1, 1970
    Three to Kill is the last of the Manchette ouevre currently translated in to English and I seem to have saved the best for last. This slim volume is a matter of factly violent novel, an indictment of the spurious nature of the petite bourgeois lifestyle, a wilderness adventure tale of self discovery in the vein of The Thirty-Nine Steps and a bleak piece of noir existentialism rolled in to one.The influence of Georges Simenon is more obviously evident than ever, this being the story of a lost mid Three to Kill is the last of the Manchette ouevre currently translated in to English and I seem to have saved the best for last. This slim volume is a matter of factly violent novel, an indictment of the spurious nature of the petite bourgeois lifestyle, a wilderness adventure tale of self discovery in the vein of The Thirty-Nine Steps and a bleak piece of noir existentialism rolled in to one.The influence of Georges Simenon is more obviously evident than ever, this being the story of a lost middle manager rejecting the self imposed shackles of his life after a traumatic event - his attempted murder in this case - and much like Kees Popinga realising that life can continue without possessions and that cosmetic appearances are not as important as he first thought.Whilst the criticism of French society isn't as direct as in his other novels the message is as obvious as ever, especially with the fabulously unexpected (and perhaps implausible) final chapter turning the screw just a little tighter. As with Simenon and even the Martin Beck series of literary crime novels the criticism of society and human nature in the work of Manchette walks hand in hand with and even subjugates the crimes themselves and it is for this that Manchette is seemingly deified by French critics.I hope that there are more Manchette's being translated for future publication as he was a wonderful novellist who could achieve much more with his prose as others in a quarter of the word count and I just can't see myself learning French any time soon sadly.
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  • Xenia Germeni
    January 1, 1970
    Το πρώτο κομμάτι του βιβλίου εξελίσσεται στις αρχές Ιουλίου -στην αρχή των διακοπών ενός συνηθισμένου στελέχους με οικογένεια. Ίδιες μέρες δηλαδή που διάβασα το βιβλίο, με έναν καύσωνα που τα έκαψε όλα. Αυτό το βιβλίο κατάφερε να με κάνει να σκεφτώ το τσιγάρο που έχω κόψει έστω για λίγα λεπτά...Μου έφερε αναμνήσεις, τότε που ο μπαμπάς μας νοίκιαζε σε VHS ταινίες νουαρ και εμείς τρέχαμε τα απογεύματα του Σαββάτου ή της Κυριακής να ρουφίξουμε. Μου έφερε αναμνήσεις με τσιγάρα και ανεμιστήρες. Αναμν Το πρώτο κομμάτι του βιβλίου εξελίσσεται στις αρχές Ιουλίου -στην αρχή των διακοπών ενός συνηθισμένου στελέχους με οικογένεια. Ίδιες μέρες δηλαδή που διάβασα το βιβλίο, με έναν καύσωνα που τα έκαψε όλα. Αυτό το βιβλίο κατάφερε να με κάνει να σκεφτώ το τσιγάρο που έχω κόψει έστω για λίγα λεπτά...Μου έφερε αναμνήσεις, τότε που ο μπαμπάς μας νοίκιαζε σε VHS ταινίες νουαρ και εμείς τρέχαμε τα απογεύματα του Σαββάτου ή της Κυριακής να ρουφίξουμε. Μου έφερε αναμνήσεις με τσιγάρα και ανεμιστήρες. Αναμνήσεις με Cutty και νερό στη Μυτιλήνη. Και πιο πρόσφατες αναμνήσεις, με κατεβασμένες γκρίλιες στο σπίτι του φίλου μου με μια δισκοθήκη τζαζ δίσκους και να προσπαθεί να μου μάθει τί είναι τζαζ. Πόσο μάστορας ο Manchette και πόσο κρατάει τον αναγνώστη του. O Manchette εκπρόσωπος του "νεο-πολαρ" και "νονός" των όσων όμορφων νεο-πολαρ διαβάζουμε απο τη Γαλλία, στο επιμετρο του βιβλίου έχει παραχωρήσει μια ενδιαφέρουσα συνεντευξη στο περιοδικό POLAR τον Ιούνιο του 1980. Παραθέτω το απόσπασμα: "Και εμείς κι αυτοί θα συνεχίσουμε να κάνουμε τη δουλειά μας, παρόλο που μας κατατρέχουν η αγορά, η κριτική και δυό χιλιάδες χρόνια πολιτισμού που είναι στοιβαγμένα πάνω στα κεφάλια μας. Ή θα πεθάνουμε ή θα είμαστε ηλίθιοι. Μπορούμε επίσης να τρελαθούμε, είναι πιο μοντέρνο. Η πρόγνωσή μου για τη συνέχεια είναι εντελώς δυσοίωνη". Αυτά και καλή ανάγνωση, εάν και εφ'όσον το βρείτε διότι έχει εξαντληθεί!
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  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    Another lean, perfect slice of noir genius from Manchette. He takes the pulp thriller loads it with irony, political disgust, graphic violence, unpredictable plot twists, believable characters, and black humor and makes it only something Manchette could write.
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  • AC
    January 1, 1970
    Marvelous bit of noir. I can see why Houllebeque's early style is said to have been modelled on Manchette.
  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    Jean-Patrick Manchette is, I am coming to believe, the French equivalent of Jim Thompson. Three to Kill tells the story of George Gerfaut, a Paris businessman, who witnesses an auto accident late at night. He finds the driver still standing, but bleeding from his side. Gerfaut takes him to a nearby hospital and continues on his way without talking to the police. It turns out the accident was a foiled assassination attempt, and the bleeding was from a bullet. The assassins come after Gerfaut, who Jean-Patrick Manchette is, I am coming to believe, the French equivalent of Jim Thompson. Three to Kill tells the story of George Gerfaut, a Paris businessman, who witnesses an auto accident late at night. He finds the driver still standing, but bleeding from his side. Gerfaut takes him to a nearby hospital and continues on his way without talking to the police. It turns out the accident was a foiled assassination attempt, and the bleeding was from a bullet. The assassins come after Gerfaut, who manages to kill both of them. Then he finds out who paid for the killings and goes after him. Quite satisfactory, if a little bloody at times.This is the third Manchette I have read, and I find myself beginning to develop a taste for his work.
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  • Andrew Schirmer
    January 1, 1970
    Perfect little thriller in its own way...should have read in French, I think it would "bite" more, but the translation by the great Donald Nicholson-Smith is excellent. Note to Ian Fleming, this is how you use brands (Guerlain, Cutty Sark) and music (west coast jazz) to set the scene, rather than incite aspiration.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    So awesome! A tight, smart, and brutal noir, Three to Kill tells you right away who’s going to eat dirt (even the heavy’s dog is quickly marked for death), so Manchette can have you focus on the how and why. A more or less typical revenge plot - a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time becomes hunted, then hunter – is the foundation of a more interesting psychological study. The author considers how a relatively normal person could live an action movie cliché – become a “man of action” who can So awesome! A tight, smart, and brutal noir, Three to Kill tells you right away who’s going to eat dirt (even the heavy’s dog is quickly marked for death), so Manchette can have you focus on the how and why. A more or less typical revenge plot - a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time becomes hunted, then hunter – is the foundation of a more interesting psychological study. The author considers how a relatively normal person could live an action movie cliché – become a “man of action” who can survive multiple assassination attempts by two seasoned hit men and then hunt down person who hired them. The solution of course, is, he’s stopped being a normal person. When we meet him, our protagonist is in a rut. Disillusioned but not quite sure by what, he uses a botched hit as an excuse to step outside of his life, family, and society in general. He starts his life over in the wilderness until one of the killers (and with him society) eventually finds him. As I was reading I couldn’t help but be reminded of writing from J.G. Ballard and Slavoj Zizek. Manchette strips the main character of all his normal signifiers and expectations, giving him a freedom to act. But there is also another theme that explores how much of our personalities and even the tools of our rebellion are products of the system and environment we find ourselves in. Upon returning from almost a year out in the wilderness, and having dispatched the man who ordered the hit on him (and the justification for his life on the run), our protagonist has no other option but to resume his former life.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    Manchette is the type of author that never gives you a dull moment; he's always going in the direction that you think he's going, but without really drawing it out, people die just as quickly as they are born, no densely laid out suspense, just dead. Dead as dead can be.It's all about the thrill and the music. Jazz mostly, light the cigarette, relax and enjoy the ride.If you're into NYRB's as I am, check out his 'The Mad and the Bad' and 'Fatale'. If you want a noir with entertainment and a grea Manchette is the type of author that never gives you a dull moment; he's always going in the direction that you think he's going, but without really drawing it out, people die just as quickly as they are born, no densely laid out suspense, just dead. Dead as dead can be.It's all about the thrill and the music. Jazz mostly, light the cigarette, relax and enjoy the ride.If you're into NYRB's as I am, check out his 'The Mad and the Bad' and 'Fatale'. If you want a noir with entertainment and a great atmosphere, check it out.
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  • George K.
    January 1, 1970
    Τρίτο βιβλίο του Ζαν Πατρίκ Μανσέτ που διαβάζω, μετά το "Μοιραία" και το "Η πρηνής θέση του σκοπευτή". Η "Μοιραία" ήταν ένα αργό στην αρχή, αλλά ιδιαίτερα γρήγορο και βίαιο από την μέση και μετά βιβλίο, με δυνατές εικόνες και απλό αλλά ενδιαφέρον σενάριο. "Η πρηνής θέση του σκοπευτή", πάλι, ήταν ένα εξαιρετικό νουάρ μυθιστόρημα με πολύ καλοδουλεμένο σενάριο, γαμάτη ατμόσφαιρα και ενδιαφέροντες χαρακτήρες. Το "Μελαγχολικό κομμάτι της δυτικής ακτής" μου φάνηκε το ίδιο εξαιρετικό με τα προηγούμενα Τρίτο βιβλίο του Ζαν Πατρίκ Μανσέτ που διαβάζω, μετά το "Μοιραία" και το "Η πρηνής θέση του σκοπευτή". Η "Μοιραία" ήταν ένα αργό στην αρχή, αλλά ιδιαίτερα γρήγορο και βίαιο από την μέση και μετά βιβλίο, με δυνατές εικόνες και απλό αλλά ενδιαφέρον σενάριο. "Η πρηνής θέση του σκοπευτή", πάλι, ήταν ένα εξαιρετικό νουάρ μυθιστόρημα με πολύ καλοδουλεμένο σενάριο, γαμάτη ατμόσφαιρα και ενδιαφέροντες χαρακτήρες. Το "Μελαγχολικό κομμάτι της δυτικής ακτής" μου φάνηκε το ίδιο εξαιρετικό με τα προηγούμενα δυο βιβλία, μικρό σε μέγεθος αλλά γεμάτο σε πλοκή και βία. Ο Ζορζ Ζερφό είναι εμπορικό στέλεχος μιας θυγατρικής της ΙΤΤ και πατέρας δυο παιδιών. Σε κάποια από τις βόλτες του δίχως συγκεκριμένο προορισμό με το αυτοκίνητό του, βλέπει στην άκρη του δρόμου ένα τρακαρισμένο αυτοκίνητο και έναν άντρα εμφανώς τραυματισμένο στο καπό του αυτοκινήτου. Την ίδια ώρα περνάει σαν σφαίρα από δίπλα ένα άλλο αυτοκίνητο (...). Ο Ζερφό παίρνει τον τραυματισμένο άντρα, τον βάζει στο αυτοκίνητό του και τον μεταφέρει στο νοσοκομείο της κοντινότερης πόλης. Εκεί όμως αλλάζει γνώμη, δεν μένει για να δώσει τα στοιχεία του και να τον δουν αστυνομικοί και φεύγει. Μετά από μέρες φεύγει με την οικογένεια του για καλοκαιρινές διακοπές. Στην παραλία θα γίνει μια απόπειρα δολοφονίας εναντίον του από δυο άγνωστους άντρες. Θα την γλιτώσει και θα ξεφύγει. Και από τότε αρχίζει ένα κυνηγητό και μπόλικες αιματηρές σκηνές θα ακολουθήσουν. Η ζωή του Ζερφό θα αλλάξει δραματικά για πολλούς μήνες. Ο Ζερφό, όμως, θα αποδειχτεί πολύ σκληρό καρύδι... Και κάποια στιγμή θα μάθει ποιοι και γιατί τον κυνηγάνε. Εξαιρετική νουάρ ατμόσφαιρα, απλή αλλά ενδιαφέρουσα πλοκή, καλοί χαρακτήρες και ωραίες περιγραφές των σκηνών βίας, των ανθρώπων και των τοπίων. Η γραφή του Μανσέτ κλασικά σε υψηλά επίπεδα, με το γνωστό χιούμορ του. Σίγουρα από τους αγαπημένους μου συγγραφείς αστυνομικών μυθιστορημάτων, θα αναζητήσω και τα υπόλοιπα βιβλία του που έχουν μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά. Εξαιρετικός συγγραφέας που σε λίγες σελίδες μπορεί να γράψει δυνατές ιστορίες με βάθος.
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  • Daniel Polansky
    January 1, 1970
    A middling bourgeoise businessman is targeted for assassination, and finds himself forced to discover the tiger which has always lurked beneath his surface. Again Manchette shows an enormous genius for reconstituting hackneyed genre premise (in broad strokes this could be a very bad Liam Neeson movie) into a savage commentary on the hideous banalities of the modern age. At turns hysterical and horrifying, this is my favorite Manchette (no small praise), and something of a masterpiece. Strong rec A middling bourgeoise businessman is targeted for assassination, and finds himself forced to discover the tiger which has always lurked beneath his surface. Again Manchette shows an enormous genius for reconstituting hackneyed genre premise (in broad strokes this could be a very bad Liam Neeson movie) into a savage commentary on the hideous banalities of the modern age. At turns hysterical and horrifying, this is my favorite Manchette (no small praise), and something of a masterpiece. Strong recommendation
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  • Bert
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this spicy little 70s take on the hardboiled genre. One man escapes the bourgeois rat-race thanks to some hitmen trying to kill him, it was almost Ballardian with its motorways and detachment. I was with it all the way until the kinda overblown actiony bit at the end, but I will defo be reading more Manchette!
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  • J.
    January 1, 1970
    "Before him on the table was an ITT protable radio receiver with a long, inclined antenna. A desert plate did service as an ashtray. Gerfaut held a Gitane filter. The radio was playing jazz, a Johnny Guarnieri piano solo, part of a program from France Musique. Not long after her first visit, Alphonsine had sent Gerfaut a money order to cover a month’s salary. He had immediately gone and bought the radio, the pants, Gitane filters, and a plastic miniature chess set which was now on the bedroom fl "Before him on the table was an ITT protable radio receiver with a long, inclined antenna. A desert plate did service as an ashtray. Gerfaut held a Gitane filter. The radio was playing jazz, a Johnny Guarnieri piano solo, part of a program from France Musique. Not long after her first visit, Alphonsine had sent Gerfaut a money order to cover a month’s salary. He had immediately gone and bought the radio, the pants, Gitane filters, and a plastic miniature chess set which was now on the bedroom floor with its pieces set up in the final position of a Vasyukov-Polugayewski match at the USSR championships of 1965 (White resigned after the thirty-second move).“Georges!” said Alphonsine as she broke the seal on a bottle of Isle Of Jura whisky. “What a horrible first name!”“Everybody can’t be called Alphonsine..." This rolls into the station as a dull little drama of the self-conscious bourgeoisie, where possessions and brand names actually matter enough to be noted in the exposition... A bland setup, certainly, considering what will be the rest of the ride. At a certain point a vicious undertow takes hold of the main character, and we're in a life and death struggle for the rest of the novel. (We get the feeling too that the early chapters may be a reach for the translator, whereas the direct scenes later on are simpler to convey ...)Once this takes off, Manchette is able to hold a kind of dual tension, balancing the existential anxiety of the lead character with the impetus of the suspense elements that keep the pace driving to the end of the book. Everything that was grounded in the everyday begins to shear apart, and we get a kind of Simenon-meets-Chester-Himes hybrid ... "… On the radio Johnny Guarnieri was superseded by a warm masculine voice retailing structuralist and leftist rubbish, then Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray began to play.“Wardell Gray—not this tenor, the other one,” said Gerfaut, pointing uselessly at the receiver, “was found shot dead in a vacant lot. And Albert Ayler’s body was fished out of the East River... Things like that exist! They really happen!”“When I was nineteen,” said Alphonsine absently, “I married a surgeon. He was crazily in love with me, the moron. It was only a civil marriage. We were divorced after five years, and I took him for every penny I could get. What do you mean, ‘Things like that exist’? …”
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  • C
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first novel I've read in some time. I was not disappointedThis 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 This is the first novel I've read in some time. I was not disappointedThis 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.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    Flawed middle manager Georges Gerfaut, with more booze and controlled substances inside him than he should have, is driving home through the night when he sees a car that's been driven off the road. He rescues the driver, discovers he's been shot up, and gets him to the nearest hospital, but then (for obvious reasons) decides to duck out before the cops arrive. A few days later, while holidaying at the shore with his wife and two daughters, he narrowly escapes the attempt of two hitmen to try to Flawed middle manager Georges Gerfaut, with more booze and controlled substances inside him than he should have, is driving home through the night when he sees a car that's been driven off the road. He rescues the driver, discovers he's been shot up, and gets him to the nearest hospital, but then (for obvious reasons) decides to duck out before the cops arrive. A few days later, while holidaying at the shore with his wife and two daughters, he narrowly escapes the attempt of two hitmen to try to murder him. He goes on the run, but that only draws the hitmen toward him . . .Georges eventually turns the tables, but that's just about the only unsurprising thing about this novel. How he gets to that point is a constantly twisting tale; from one page to the next, I generally couldn't predict what might happen next, or even who (including Georges) might survive.The book's full of harshness but it's also frequently very funny; it's a hardboiled piece on the one hand, a black comedy on the other. Manchette sticks in, too, the occasional schoolboy joke which, if you happen like me to be a schoolboy (albeit a somewhat elderly one), is much to be giggled at. For example, this description of the woman who becomes a major new romantic interest for Georges:She resembled a very good ad for a vacation club (though ads for vacation clubs never actually look like that: they make you want to stay at home if it all possible.)I very much liked this book, and have made a note to read as much more of Manchette's work as I possibly can.Had I more time I'd expand on these notes, but right now I'm up against a deadline.
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  • Andy Weston
    January 1, 1970
    It is such a tremendous pleasure to find an author who for some reason or other has escaped me. Perhaps it was when I read a recent Fred Vargas that Manchete's name was quoted as an influence in another review. It has taken me a while since then to get into action and secure one of his more acclaimed tales. Manchete's writing is wonderful. This is one of the very best crime fiction novels I have read, and they are numerous. Looking back at it, it is such a simple story, and yet so engrossing. It It is such a tremendous pleasure to find an author who for some reason or other has escaped me. Perhaps it was when I read a recent Fred Vargas that Manchete's name was quoted as an influence in another review. It has taken me a while since then to get into action and secure one of his more acclaimed tales. Manchete's writing is wonderful. This is one of the very best crime fiction novels I have read, and they are numerous. Looking back at it, it is such a simple story, and yet so engrossing. It is 9 months in the life of Paris businessman, Georges Gerfaut. This period takes place just after the protagonist stop his car when driving on the peripherique late one night to help a fellow driver who has crashed. It's total unpredictability appeals greatly. It is also one of those rare books where the violence, though quite extreme, is key to the story. So I'm started, I am a Manchete fan. Unfortunately his short life means it won't take me long to get through all of his work, but I am thoroughly looking forward to it.
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  • Jim Coughenour
    January 1, 1970
    This one's a wicked sparkling gem, something you can enjoy in a single evening — and I truly mean ENJOY. First published in the late 1970s, this dark, violent and hilarious novel is the most pleasurable instance of the revenge motif since Fay Weldon's She Devil. Kudos to City Lights for bringing it back to life.
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  • Tosh
    January 1, 1970
    This is one fantastic French crime noir book - a story about a man who witnesses a crime, and the criminals go after him. Major mistake on their part! The victim actually hunts them down one by one. Witty, harsh, and I wish there were 15 other titles by this late great French writer.
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  • Wend
    January 1, 1970
    Quite liked this one, somewhat amusing. I kept thinking of Peter Sellars as Gerfaut for some reason.
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Here's a re-print of a 1976 French title with a spare, vicious elegance that stands in stark contrast to Stansbery's torrid sensationalism. Businessman Georges Gerfault stops to aid the victim of what seems to be a roadside accident but is in reality a failed hit job, and finds himself in the crosshairs of a pair of hired guns, Carlo and Bastien, who make their first attempt on his life while he vacations with his family at the sunny seaside, and chase him across the country and right out of his Here's a re-print of a 1976 French title with a spare, vicious elegance that stands in stark contrast to Stansbery's torrid sensationalism. Businessman Georges Gerfault stops to aid the victim of what seems to be a roadside accident but is in reality a failed hit job, and finds himself in the crosshairs of a pair of hired guns, Carlo and Bastien, who make their first attempt on his life while he vacations with his family at the sunny seaside, and chase him across the country and right out of his ordinary, complacent life. The swift, lean story with riveting episodes of unadorned brutality is related by a narrator not so much omniscient as insouciant, whose cool and clinical description of the desperate events unfolding before his impassive camera lens is occasionally leavened with slight Gallic shrugs and whiffs of sly humor as reminiscent of Voltaire as Camus. The result is rather like being a passenger in a precision sportscar hurtling down the highway at insane speeds, wondering if the driver's nonchalant demeanor and offhand remarks on the passing flora and fauna owe to his supreme expertise and confidence in German engineering, or to utter suicidal indifference. I swiftly gobbled up the only other Manchette currently available here — The Prone Gunman — and eagerly await the translation of his eight other crime novels. (Americans don't read or have access to nearly enough popular literature from other cultures — not that we're obliged to be cosmopolitan in our tastes, but the rest of the world has so many refreshingly different stories to tell us. The current interest in Euro-mysteries is an encouraging sign: let's resolve to travel the world this year, if only in our reading).
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  • Kusaimamekirai
    January 1, 1970
    If you like your carnage and mayhem ringed with existential angst and dread, Jean-Patrick Manchette is your man. "Three to Kill" finds Georges Gerfaut, a middle manager at a company Paris with a wife and two little girls, on the side of a dark road one night helping a man who has crashed into a tree. Georges takes him to the hospital and assumes that is the end of that. Naturally, it isn't. It's the first step toward his life being turned upside down and something inside of him being unlocked th If you like your carnage and mayhem ringed with existential angst and dread, Jean-Patrick Manchette is your man. "Three to Kill" finds Georges Gerfaut, a middle manager at a company Paris with a wife and two little girls, on the side of a dark road one night helping a man who has crashed into a tree. Georges takes him to the hospital and assumes that is the end of that. Naturally, it isn't. It's the first step toward his life being turned upside down and something inside of him being unlocked that he never realised he was capable of. What makes this story so interesting, and all of Manchette's stories, is the cold and dispassionate way otherwise ordinary people rationalise brutality. There are fleeting moments of sentimentality but for the most part there is just killing, not out of joy or even sadism, just because. There is a wonderful scene when Georges is pondering why he is even seeking revenge at all:(view spoiler)[ “It’s one thing for you,” said Gerfaut. “I imagine you love Éliane Mouzon. As for me, though, the woman who was killed up there in the mountains, I didn’t love her, you know. She was really very beautiful, but….” He broke off and fell silent for a good minute. “Perhaps I shouldn’t be as angry as I am.” (hide spoiler)] He questions why he is about to do something that for anyone else would be a life shattering event, but only briefly. He's come this far and it's as if he's too tired not to do it. As with most of Manchette, there are copious amounts of violence. Yet it is this emotional and philosophical depth that makes this story and all his stories, special.
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  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    A rambling noir about a mid-level corporate family man on the lam from a couple of killers. Everything was cool until our family man jumps a freight train, hangs out with hobos and mountain men and gets all "Sullivan's Travels". J.P. Manchette is a good writer so I'll try "Fatale" which I hear is better and I may even check out the Tardi interpretation of this book. O frere where art thou?
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  • Jure
    January 1, 1970
    Wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time plus revenge story. Usually not my cup of tea but this one was pretty special. Not (just) a thriller but also a weird mystery about what the hell is going on inside our main protagonist's head.More here (review includes spoilers!):http://a60books.blogspot.ie/2013/12/3...
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    This my first encounter with Manchette. I'm impressed that he brought in the tropes of the thriller and wedded them with irony and social commentary, all in this pocket-sized City Lights' publication.
  • Marivi Sanz
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first Manchette book, and it won't be the last. He manages to contain a full noir thriller in so few pages, with an excellent prose devoid of artifices that set a steady pace.
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