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A brilliant Melbourne crime novel, told in ten hardboiled stories.
John Dorn is a private investigator. Just like his father used to be. It says ‘private inquiry agent’ in John’s yellow pages ad because that’s what his old man called himself, back before his business folded, his wife left him and he drank himself to death.
But John’s not going to end up like his father. He doesn’t have a wife, or much business. He doesn’t really drink, either. Not yet.
In each of these ten delicious stories Zane Lovitt presents an intriguing investigation filled with humour and complex, beautifully observed characters. At their centre is John Dorn, solving not so much crimes as funny human puzzles; but the crimes, and the criminals, are forever lurking nearby, taunting him from the city’s cold underworld.
It’s his job to unravel the mystery, or right the wrong, or just do what the client has hired him to do. Somehow, though, there is a misstep at every turn, and John takes another small stumble towards his moment of personal truth. His midnight promise. Perhaps even his redemption.
‘The Midnight Promise delivers. Zane Lovitt is a writer to watch.’
‘The Midnight Promise crashes straight into Temple, Corris and Chandler territory…You can recommend The Midnight Promise by the back cover—Text has it nailed.’
‘The Midnight Promise is the kind of zesty Australian crime writing that doesn’t come along often….Lovitt’s evocation of Melbourne locales has the same recognisability, affection and flair for soaking up the stink of a place as Shane Maloney’s Murray Whelan books.’
‘Stylistically reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill, Lovitt treats the individual stories as a means of building a picture of John Dorn….The writing is sharp, the scenarios are well conceived, suitably violent, stupid or pointless and very funny. Lovitt has a real skill in drawing characters that spring to life in a few words. As a modern interpretation of the private eye style of crime, The Midnight Promise is an exciting and original debut.’
‘Smacking of grit and realism…The Midnight Promise is flat-out one of the most enjoyable crime books out there. Australian noir with a nod to Raymond Carver—there’s lots of drinking, dark streets, and wisecracks that you’ll grin like mad over. Every story is its own little world, all completely satisfying but so involving you’ll put the book down wishing for more.’
There are only a few authors who I can still vividly remember the first time I ever discovered them. The moment, the feeling, stuck in my reading memory…You knew you’ve just read a writer who you will follow anywhere. I’m adding Zane Lovitt to that list.’
‘Lovitt’s on-the-brink-of-self-destruction antihero, acute talent for low-life scenarios and convincing desperado dialogue has him treading Temple turf. A writer on the rise.’
‘What makes Dorn such a compelling narrator is that for all his decrepitude he has a reflective spirit and an insightful eye….An often brutal, yet brutally reflective, examination of the human condition.’
‘Lovitt has crafted a notable, confident first novel. Intelligent, never ponderous, The Midnight Promise wears the battered fedora of the crime genre with stylish ease and moves at a brisk pace. Told with intensity and conviction, it offers a refreshing perspective on a well worked genre.’