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La Position du tireur couché (original 1982; edition 1998)

by Jean-Patrick Manchette

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181565,444 (3.82)6
Member:ktooropk
Title:La Position du tireur couché
Authors:Jean-Patrick Manchette
Info:Gallimard (1998), Poche, 195 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:polar

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The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette (1982)

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English (4)  Italian (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 4 of 4
Derek Raymond first tempted me into writing crime - Manchette is likely to be the writer who brings me back to try it again. Understanding that this genre has attracted some of the greats - Dostoevsky and Camus and Hamsun among others - might make you wonder why and I think it has to do with the onset of the modernists and Freud. When narrative qua narrative has become the domain film and the obvious way ahead for literature is the life of the interior crime springs obvious and eternal as a possible mainspring of the modern and post modern novel.

This time round Manchette gives us a professional hitman who is retiring as his central character - his hero if you will. Leaving this dangerous profession is by no means as simple as it would be from any more mainstream profession however. An untimely retirement would spoil things for his "station boss" and it soon becomes clear that the next job, the "one more thing", could be fatal for our extremely violent but unconflicted hero. Quite how Manchette makes a professional killer so sympathetic has to be experienced to be believed. But like him we do. We even empathise with him. No mean feat.

Once you are hooked on the hero the action picks up from a frantic pace to a hectic one and soon you are careening through a seemingly logical but eminently crazy helter skelter of calculated violence and mayhem. Every step makes sense. Ears end up on car floors. People end up dead. The logic and the reason are undeniable - Manchette has you in his grip. Sit back in the assassin's passenger seat - a Citroen DS again, take out your Opinel knife and pare your nails - it's a bumpy ride but one you will enjoy. There will be blood but there will also be analysis and commentary.

One to enjoy and possibly Manchette's finest.
2 vote papalaz | Jan 18, 2008 |
As crime thrillers go there is no one better IMO than Manchette. It is really a shame that only two of his works are available in English--likewise a shame that I don't know French because if I did I know one thing that would be on my agenda and that would be to read the rest of Manchette's works. Both of his books available in English are short, unsentimental, very intricately plotted and extremely violent. They are also very politically and socially savvy. This cannot be stressed enough. It gives these works of his a lot of extra wallop.

In this one the main character Martin Terrier a very efficient hit man decides he's had enough and wants to retire. The people he works for don't agree. They want him to do one more job--but they've also decided that is time to get rid of him. Martin is adamant--he wants to settle down with his girlfriend but his bosses are able to make his bank accounts disappear--in fact to practically disappear everything Martin has worked for all his life. In the course of things Martin has no choice but he also finds out what his bosses have in mind for him and the way in which he turns the table on them is bloody and violent. In the end Martin will survive but deaf in both ears and his girlfriend will leave him.

Anyway both this and 3 to kill are very exciting books. The prose is electric and it has a way of working itself into your dream life. Very realistically drawn and highly recommended. ( )
  lriley | Oct 8, 2006 |
Uno dei migliori romanzi che abbia mai letto, quello che per primo mi ha fatto appassionare a Manchette. Freddo, violento, cinico, disperato, sorprendente, assolutamente magnifico.

One of the best noirs I've ever read, the one that got me fascinated with Manchette. Cold, violent, cynical, desperate, surprising, absolutely brilliant. ( )
  Moloch | Nov 9, 2005 |
French "Crime Noir" - a killer and his downfall
  AnneliM | Dec 31, 1969 |
Showing 4 of 4
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It was winter, and it was dark.
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Original title: La position du tireur couché. This should not be combined with the Tardi graphic novel adaptation Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0872864022, Paperback)

Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game—so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. After all, that’s why he took up this profession! But the Organization won't let him go: they have other plans. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone shooting position. A tour de force, this violent tale shatters as many illusions about life and politics as bodies.

Jean-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. Manchette is a totem to a generation of French mystery writers, and his stories have inspired several films, including Claude Chabrol’s Nada.

Also Available by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Three to Kill
TP $11.95, 0-87286-395-6 • CUSA

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:35 -0400)

"Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. After all, that's why he took up this profession! But "the company" won't let him go: they have other plans. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone firing position. A tour de force, this violent tale shatters as many illusions about life and politics as it does bodies."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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