The Magazine for Crime & Mystery


Val McDermid Interview

Nevada Barr on writing HUNTING SEASON plus an excerpt

Paul Doherty's short story THE KYRIE MAN

Stark Contrasts Michael Carlson examines the pulp fiction of Richard Stark

Have you got what it takes to be a Writer? by Fiona Shoop

It Could Only Happen in Hollywood

25th Hour

David Benioff

NEL pbk £6.99

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Reviewed by Les Hurst

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Is it the last guy, or the almost last guy, in Twelve Angry Men, who says "Kids - you give them your life, and what do you get?". Forty years later, nothing has changed -the day is ending, snow is coming on, it's New York City, and three former prep school kids are going to meet for a drink. One of them has already come close to suicide, the second has developed an unhealthy fixation on one of his students, while the third has rescued a dog.
Well, Monty rescued the dog sometime before. Today he has taken the dog for a last walk. The dog gets taken out a lot. Naturelle, Monty's girlfriend, takes the dog with her when she goes jogging in Central Park later on, but Monty can't be there as he is dining with his father. It is going to be late at night before the three chums can have their get together - Monty has a lot of things to do and not so much time to do them in.
Back when Monty rescued the dog - in the Prologue, actually - he had Kostya with him. Russian name? Dodgy. Anything else in the car? Well, nothing to stop them taking the dog to a veterinarian's; on the other hand Kostya was not very keen on being seen stopped at the side of the West Side Highway. No point in asking the police to stop. And then when he was out walking the dog today, some scumbag hailed Monty and asked him for scag, but Monty couldn't oblige. Not wouldn't, couldn't - Monty has been touched. Monty is in his last twenty-four hours of freedom - tomorrow morning he has to report to Otisville penitentiary up the river, or become a fugitive from justice.
As the three friends, pupils, business acquaintances move through the bleak night, Montgomery Brogan considers how he got where he is. He was at a good school, which is where he started dealing - okay, so he was expelled, but he continued to make a good living, not like his schmuck friend Jakob who became a teacher. Monty mixed with the stars as he delivered their bags of snow, and he had been given Kostya to keep his back covered. How could it go wrong? How could the DEA agents just walk into his apartment and put their hands on his stash like that?
The one thing Monty has not done is make a deal with the Feds - he has not squealed. Monty, though, cannot help thinking that a pretty boy like himself will be squealing a lot after his first day behind bars - he can imagine the warders withdrawing for the night and the big cons coming in close.
The twentieth-fifth hour is going to be his first hour in the pen. Ironically, what Monty has not allowed for, him being a dealer and all, is the snow. The snow has been falling all night, and come morning it may have blocked the road to Otisville. What a question: will the snow make Monty a fugitive?

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