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Rake

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

May 13, 2014 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 256 Pages | ISBN 9781619023147
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"Rake is one of the great joys in new noir fiction and should find itself on many year-end lists...” —Los Angeles Review of Books

The landscape of contemporary Paris, the best restaurants, the trendiest bars and clubs, is usually filled with the wealthy, the famous, and le rake or le roué, the charming, educated sophisticate with little or no conscience. Into this cushy world bursts Dr. Crandall Taylor—or rather the actor who plays him—the star of a dated American soap opera that is now one of the hottest primetime shows in France. And this newfound fame, as enriching as it is unexpected, is not wasted on Crandall, eager to put his dark and often violent American past behind him and enjoy all the fruits—and the women—that Paris and fame have to offer him.

But TV fame isn’t enough. Randall wants a feature film. Every actor wants a feature film, and so Crandall uses his charm and intellect to draw into his narcissistic web four different women: an executive at the network that runs his show; an American porn star reaching new heights on the internet; a bookish university student with a slightly nasty bent; and the beautiful would-be actress wife of an arms dealer. Against his better judgment, Crandall accepts both the arms dealer’s cash and his beautiful wife’s advances. Soon, Crandall is on the run through the alleys and streets of Paris, trying not only to fund a film but simply to stay alive. But this is no ordinary chase —and Crandall is no ordinary mouse — and soon his penchant for violence, sex, and megalomania erupts into full blown war.

Rake is the latest noir classic from the author of The Ice Harvest. It features a charming, despicable anti-hero and a funny, satiric take on modern entertainment culture. Phillips turns his gimlet eye on the lush life of an actor who, on his destructive tour through Paris, crosses the line from garden variety narcissism into full-fledged psycopathy.

SCOTT PHILLIPS is the author of The Ice Harvest, The Walkaway, Cottonwood, and The Adjustment. He was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, and lived for many years in France. For more information, visit www.scottphillipsauthor.com.

Praise

Rake is one of the great joys in new noir fiction and should find itself on many year-end lists with recent efforts from Richard Lange, Daniel Woodrell, Sara Gran, and Ace Atkins… It’s breezy and twisted fun, a sinister book to savor in a poorly lit dive bar while all your boring relatives are curled up on their sofas with mainstream fluff… Phillips’s work is much more in line with masters like Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford, in that he is unafraid to tell the stories of gritty narcissists who turn dark corners and wind up blazing a savage trail through the world… Donald Westlake’s great Dortmunder novels come to mind as antecedents; Phillips, like Westlake, is fond of running gags and has the ability to transform the criminal underworld into a deliciously zany place. But Willeford’s The Woman Chaser seems like Rake’s closest relative. Phillips, delivering a study in misanthropic madness, takes all of his cues from Willeford, who — better than anyone — examined the troubled minds of the soulless.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“The first scene in Rake is a fight. It’s not surprising that a Scott Phillips book opens with violence; he’s known for exploring the baser side of humanity with dark humor and noirish style… Rake makes no bones about its main character being a bad guy. But bad guys can make for good reads, and this one does.” —Wichita Eagle

Rake is full of vicarious pleasures for us to indulge in… from one of the most original practitioners of noir working today..a hilarious Hollywood satire, the fuck-journal of a mad man and an ingeniously twisty old-school noir along the lines of James M. Cain.” —Spinetingler Magazine

“With Rake, Scott Phillips proves himself the unparalleled master of the noir anti-hero. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know, his Crandall Taylor is the quintessential American huckster on the scene, and in Phillip’s sly, deft hands we find ourselves sinking down eagerly with him, glorying in the beautiful muck.” —Megan Abbott, author of The Fever and Dare Me

“Scott Phillips is an author whose books are always at the top of my reading pile. His smart prose and conscience-deprived anti-heroes turn crime fiction into social satire. His latest, Rake, further proves his talent for making noir funny… With Rake, Phillips has once again created a protagonist whose voice suits his writing style. You might dislike him, if he wasn’t so cavalier and intelligent. While he gives us wild justification for his actions there exists a little hypocrisy in him, at least when he tells his tale. It’s also hard to admit we’d behave differently if we could get away with it. One could say that Scott Phillips gives us a cold look at his characters, and the film business, but the narration and the protagonist’s devil-may-care attitude give Rake a sleazy warmth. Rake is Scott Phillips at his most entertaining. His wonderfully amoral and hedonistic characters, with their scheming and trouble shooting, provide a subtle yet laughable loud look at how the US has exported its worst traits abroad.” —Mystery People

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