Review: Black Teeth by Zane Lovitt

The Midnight Promise announced9781925355147 Zane Lovitt as a great new talent in Australian crime fiction. His new novel is even more incredible. Lovitt takes a wicked sense of humour and clever plotting to once again brilliantly subvert the crime genre.

The novel opens with a piece of classic noir. A man opens his door to an insurance salesman. He wants to take out life insurance because he is planning revenge and he doesn’t expect to survive from taking it out. By the end of the first chapter the subversion is already apparent and you know you are in a very different kind of crime novel.

Lovitt adds another piece to this revenge story and another character. Jason Ginaff is a bit of a social outcast. He spends his days vetting people online for companies, finding people’s darkest secrets online and showing them to their current, future or former employer. Jason often works under an alias, primarily because he is much more confident when he is trying to be someone else and it helps him remain private. When he has to be himself things tend fall to apart. So when he finally tracks down the man he thinks is his biological father, does he meet him first as Jason or as somebody else?

Lovitt quickly has these two seemingly disconnected stories weaved inextricably together. Lovitt plays off the conventions of the crime genre fantastically which makes for some darkly comic moments as well as plenty of surprises which will have you flicking back chapters discovering other bits you may have missed the first time around. The ending is mind-blowing and I am still trying to get my head around it, which I love.

Move over Peter Temple, your heir apparent has arrived and is breaking all the rules of crime fiction with a talent and skill that is unique, daring and quite simply a pleasure to behold on the page.

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“You don’t know a high-water mark until you’ve seen a lot of low water.” Winner of the Best First Fiction Ned Kelly Award

Review – The Midnight Promise by Zane Lovitt

“You don’t know a high-water mark until you’ve seen a lot of low water.”

9781921922930I was totally blown away by this book. This is crime fiction at its absolute best. Zane Lovitt literally bursts on to the literary scene with this book and I can say without a doubt is destined for huge things. This is not a new writer who has potential, this is a new writer whose skill and talent just oozes out of the page. From the structure of the novel to Lovitt’s distinct style, from the black as night dark humour and cynicism to the deep recesses of human emotion and frailty this is the most original, absorbing and utterly compelling crime novel I’ve read in a long time.

The Midnight Promise is told in ten cases. Cases, not short stories. Although the magic of this book is that they each work perfectly on their own. And I want to be clear here, this is not ten short stories mashed together. This is not ten short stories that form a novel. Think of the ten cases more like vignettes or episodes. They are self contained but together they combine to make something truly special. As you read, everything slowly starts to form together and cases you thought had no bearing on each other actually play a vital role in the story.

As you put the individual pieces together, a bigger picture is formed, a wider story is told and you’ll be in awe of what you’ve just been reading. You are following an intricate and subtle arc that is slowly but surely spiraling down. And this is the genius of the book. You think you’re reading ten cases, ten separate stories that have no bearing on each other but they have all been leading to a certain point, a midnight promise. A deal made at rock bottom, never to get here again. But the journey to rock bottom is what is important, as well as realizing what rock bottom actually is.

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: George Pelecanos (The Big Blowdown), Don Winslow (The Power of the Dog), Laura Lippman (Every Secret Thing), Ken Bruen (The Guards), Peter Temple (The Broken Shore), David Simon (Homicide), Adrian McKinty (Dead I Well May Be). You knew you’ve just read a writer who you will follow anywhere. I’m adding Zane Lovitt to that list.

Buy the book here…