I liked Last Dance in Phoenix by Kurt Reichenbauch. I liked it a lot. No, that’s not strong enough. Actually, I loved it. I loved it a lot. It is that good. As I immersed myself in this book, I had a feeling of déjà vu. I had the same feeling I got when I read my first book by someone who would quickly become one of my favorite noir authors. Now mind you, I don’t offer this comparison lightly because in my mind I am comparing him to a noir author who sits on the Mount Rushmore of current noir authors.
So who am I comparing Reichenbauch to you ask? As I read this book I kept mentally comparing him to the one and only Jason Starr. There is something about this book which brings me back to the first 5 books Starr penned in which his main characters were “every day men” who got swept up in a series of events that caused them to spiral out of control and the reader slowly started to see a new side of them emerge. Within this great book, Reichenbauch has created a character that follows this pattern.
Kent Starling is a rather boring accountant who seems to lead a boring existence. He is married, has no children, and works in a small cubicle at his boring 9 to 5 job. But when he gets an email from a friend he hasn’t heard from in years, his life gets turned upside down in ways he couldn’t begin to fathom.
As the book progresses, you begin to see Kent in a new light and discover that he isn’t the straight arrow you thought he was. You learn that there are many things, both from his past and in his current life, he would prefer remained hidden. As his life begins to become unhinged, his past secrets come out into the open and you see him slowly begin to sink into depravity.
This is one hell of a good read. Although I compare this work with Starr’s earlier works, Reichenbauch more than stands on his own and shows great writing talent with this release. His characters are fresh and believable, and the plot is fast moving and bold. I am thrilled to see that he has a previous book, Sirens, that I immediately purchased and added to my To Be Read pile.
Overall, this book impressed me immensely. It has been quite a while since I reacted to a new author like this and I am excited to see if not only his first book, but his next release, prove me right when I say this man has a great literary future in front of him. Consider me blown away by this book!