Don Barshter just made a huge mistake, and now his wife is dead. He didn’t mean to kill her, but that won’t matter to the authorities. So Barshter seizes the opportunity to remake himself on the run, forging a new life as a heavy in the New York mob. Will the past catch up with him, or will he thrive in the underworld?
Sinner Man is an interesting character study wrapped in a crime story. Block ponders what makes us who we are — what we say, what we do, or both — delving into man’s darker, more selfish urges and asking hard questions about what makes a man into a monster. The story goes quickly but makes for a satisfying little morality play.
And although the novel is fun, the story that follows is even better. Block takes us through his early days as a journeyman writer, sharing insights into the publishing business as it once was, all as a part of explaining just how Sinner Man was rediscovered after fifty years. The past weighs heavy on both installments here.
Stories like Sinner Man are what make the Hard Case Crime series worthwhile.