The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

August 16, 2011

REVIEW: TWO-WAY SPLIT by Allan Guthrie

Ex-concert pianist Robin Greaves has been off his meds for sometime when he discovers his wife, Carol, is cheating on him with friend Eddie. Except cheating doesn't include actual sex. Robin wants Eddie dead, but first this eccentric trio has to pull off a robbery. They get the money all right, but in the process Robin kills a woman whose son, a vengeful ex-con named Pearce, is not content to sit and grieve. So Pearce is after Robin, who has the money, is after Eddie, who is after the money. What Carol wants, who knows? But there's one more character, the wildly unpredictable Don, who may be the most dangerous of them all and who personifies the book's title. Turns out splitting the money is the least of anyone's worries. Coming out alive will be a winner-takes-all game.

Author Allan Guthrie is a successful writer, agent, and editor. What he doesn't know about crime fiction as an art and as a business probably isn't worth knowing. Too often that kind of intimate knowledge about writing and the business of writing can make for somewhat sterile reading as a kind of "checklist for a successful story" comes into play. Not so with this canny Scotsman. TWO-WAY SPLIT has the snappy, hardboiled feel of having come straight from the old pulp publishers' boiler rooms, but with time enough for a few laughs along the way. Dark laughter.

This is a fast-moving, blackly comic action tale, occurring over less than 48 hours, with character scene-splits occurring sometimes only moments apart. As with Guthrie's other works, this one left me wishing he were more prolific. TWO-WAY SPLIT was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger award and went on to win the Theakston's Crime Novel Of The Year in 2007 (besting books by the likes of Stuart MacBride, Michael Jecks, and Christopher Brookmyre).

Amazon Kindle: $0.99

Amazon, Paperback


  1. For me, Allan is one of the best in crime fiction at getting inside of his characters heads. Just read Killing Mum, an excellent example of that.

  2. He's a great writer. And I really try to take his advice about writing dialog to heart. People do not speak in full sentences. My writing group hates it but I know it's right.

  3. It's great advice, Patti, and I only wish I were better at following it.

  4. I have this on my iPad. Must get to it soon. You write reviews that make me want to drop everything and just start reading the books you reviewed right away.

    I also have PULP INK!!

  5. You have Pulp Ink? Then you MUST drop what you're reading, and read my story. It's not that good, but you've read worse. No, really, Guthrie's book is better than my story. But you could read his story in Pulp Ink -- that would be splitting the difference, right?