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'I worked one hundred murders,' says Detective Mike Hoolihan, an American policewoman. 'In my time I have come in on the aftermath of maybe a thousand suspicious deaths, most of which turned out to be suicides, accidentals or plain unattendeds. So I've seen them all: jumpers, stumpers, dumpers, dunkers, bleeders, floaters, poppers, bursters. But of all the bodies I have ever seen none has stayed with me, in my gut, like the body of Jennifer Rockwell. I say all this because I am part of the story I am going to tell, and I feel the need to give you some idea of where I'm coming from.' Night Train is a mystery story which lingers in the reader's mind even after Mike Hoolihan declares the case closed.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099748717
ISBN-10: 0099748711
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 130mm x 10mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Oct-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Amis, who seems to be turning himself into a British Thomas Berger, continues his twisty tour of formulaic genres (The Information, 1995, etc.) with his most deadpan pastiche yet: the police investigation of an impossible suicide. Mike Hoolihan, a beefy female detective in an unnamed "second-echelon American city," is called back from Asset Forfeiture to Homicide to break the news of his daughter's death to Colonel Tom Rockwell, the grand old man of the police department. Jennifer Rockwell was an astrophysicist who had everything to live for - brains, looks, the world's best lover, and unlimited career horizons - but who put a gun in her mouth anyway. Colonel Tom, of course, can't believe it's suicide, and asks Mike (so completely Jennifer's opposite that she's constantly mistaken for a man on the phone) to follow the case. She doesn't have to follow any further than the postmortem to see that Jennifer evidently shot herself three times - laying the case as wide open as her corpse. If Jennifer didn't kill herself, who murdered her? Her gentle live-in, philosophy-of-science prof Trader Faulkner? Bax Denziger, her bemused boss in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Institute of Physical Problems? Am Debs, the jovial, roundheeled traveling salesman she'd hooked up with? And if Jennifer did manage to kill herself, why did she do it - who was the person inside who made her pull the trigger? Mike follows up a glittering trail of modish cultural rubble - Jennifer's surprising use of lithium, her maliciously erratic recent work at Terrestrial Magnetism, her careful annotations in her copy of Making Sense of Suicide - to produce the latest in a stream of anti-detective stories that goes back all the way to Billy Budd. Amis's hypnotic way with a phrase produces a collage asparkle with bits of broken glass - and perhaps the most jaundiced, knowing book ever written about ignorance. Quite an accomplishment. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Martin Amis

Martin Amis is the author of thirteen novels, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories and six collections of non-fiction, most recently The Second Plane. He lives in New York.

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