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"Some snipers go for the head. Not me. I go for the heart."

Bleeding Hearts - Ian Rankin

Oh, the blessings of being an author with too much time on his hands. I can just picture Ian Rankin sitting in the house (farm? cottage?) he and his wife bought in rural Dordogne, having whizzed through the manuscript for yet another increasingly well-written John Rebus novel and – having left behind all other employment across the British Channel and neither inclined to carpentry nor gardening – feeling his mind growing restless, in need of occupation. Now, wouldn't you have started looking for another outlet for your creative energy had you been in his spot?

 

The result of the aforementioned process, which Rankin describes in the foreword to a 2000 compilation uniting all three volumes, were a series of thrillers he wrote under the pseudonym Jack Harvey: Jack for his newborn son, Harvey for his wife's maiden name.

 

After a good, albeit a bit uneven beginning with "Witch Hunt" – the story of a female assassin hunted by agents of the British and the French governments – things really shift into high gear with the second Jack Harvey novel, "Bleeding Hearts." Unusual is, already, its protagonist: another assassin, but this time a large part of the story is told from his perspective, and the presumed "bad guy's" first person narrative magnetically draws you in, until you end up rooting for *him* – the cool, slick, smart, presumably rather goodlooking operator – and not for the ex-cop-turned-P.I. who's been on his heels for years, and compared to whom even a classic noir gumshoe would almost look like an epitome of innocence (besides being a good deal slimmer). What is more, the story's enigmatic anti-hero suffers from a birth defect both supremely ironic and potentially fatal in his line of work: hemophilia ...

 

Read more on my own website, ThemisAthena.info.

 

Preview also cross-posted on Leafmarks.

Source: http://www.themisathena.info/literature/rankin.html#BleedingHearts