Tag Archives: Thrillers – Crime

Seven Demons

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Seven Demons [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Aidan Truhen.

Truhen Seven Demons

Seven Demons is a second smoking stream-of-psychopathy tale in the comma-abstemious voice of criminal entrepreneur Jack Price. The book thinks it wants to be a heist thriller, but it is programmatically ambiguous about that intention. Price takes his team to Switzerland where he learns much about Swissness, foes and friends die, and Nazis get satisfyingly obliterated.

The story offers a lot of entertaining dialogue, often featuring the distinctive exchange of double-quoted ellipses as a conversation reaches an absurd impasse. Jack has some awesome pillow talk with the global science felon who is his not-girlfriend (87-9) and delivers a not-unrelated monologue on the art of cunnilingus (180-1).

The prior book The Price You Pay was so amusing and sui generis that I was prepared for a certain level of disappointment here. Nevertheless, Seven Demons made me LOL all the way down to my crime testes on a regular basis. I will not be surprised to see another book after this one of Jack Price just trying to get along in the world, and I will gladly read it.

The Price You Pay

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Price You Pay [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Aidan Truhen.

Truhen The Price You Pay

The Price You Pay is entirely in the first person voice of Jack Price (pun intended and explicitly emphasized) and his immediate interlocutors, present tense, all internal monologue and external dialogue with not a quotation mark in sight, not even that em-dash alternative, and never a “he said.” Simple paragraph breaks and sparing direct address do all the heavy lifting of speaker identification, and they do it well.

Where plot is concerned, the book is a clear if remote descendant of John Buchan’s seminal “thriller” The Thirty-Nine Steps, although set in the 21st century with an elite coke dealer protagonist and a lot more collateral damage (also, no war propaganda). To the episodic man-on-the-run structure are added extra helpings of violence, plus the energy and ambivalent misanthropy of an early Chuck Pahluniuk novel.

“I am a fucking asymmetric criminal startup. I got limited expertise in criminal strategic warfare. I hotdesk and I outsource and I franchise but what I mostly have is a core concept, forward momentum and the unassailable fact that I’m crazier than a fibreglass hairball.” (73)

I don’t think this book has any socially redeeming value other than being twisted and funny as hell.