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Cocaine Nights

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

January 5, 2010 | Paperback | 5 x 8, 332 Pages | ISBN 9781582435701
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“A bit of metaphysical terrorism as carefully planned and executed as [a] fatal blaze." —Washington Post

In Cocaine Nights, J.G. Ballard stretches the taut canvas of his transgressive vision over the framework of old-fashioned mystery. The setting: the swank Spanish resort of Estrella de Mar, where young retirees from Europe’s chillier climes bask in a lifestyle of endless leisure. Into the queasy beauty of this artificial environment steps Charles Prentice, a London travel writer who has come to visit his brother Frank, manager of Club Nautico—tennis and swim club by day, coked-up discotheque by night.

Frank is in jail, having confessed to setting an explosive fire that has taken five lives. Certain the confession was coerced, Charles launches his own investigation. But Frank isn’t interested in salvation, and the Spanish police don’t want their open-and-shut case corrupted by a meddling Brit. Refusing to abandon his crusade, Charles soon finds himself drawn into Estrella de Mar’s dark underworld, and as Cocaine Nights accelerates toward its disturbing climax, Ballard once again reveals his visionary mastery.

J.G. BALLARD was a British novelist and short story writer. His experiences during Japan’s takeover of China were recounted in his semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun, which was adapted for film and awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He died in 2009.


“What infuses Cocaine Nights is a curious blend of deadpan detachment and almost comical self-consciousness.” —New York Times Book Review

“A bristling thriller pastiche.” —Kirkus

“A bit of metaphysical terrorism as carefully planned and executed as [a] fatal blaze.” —Washington Post

“[Ballard’s] bleak picture of trouble in paradise has the ring of truth.” —Publishers Weekly

Cocaine Nights comes at you like a conventional ‘all-is-not-as-it-seems’ whodunit. But all is not as it seems. Under the light crust of gentility lies a familiar Ballard landscape of sociopathic violence, transgressive sex and the inevitable pornographic web that lies in between… There is nothing quite like a J. G. Ballard novel.” —The Guardian

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