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Bust (Max & Angela, #1 - Hard Case Crime, #20)
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Bust (Max & Angela #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  799 ratings  ·  63 reviews

1)When you hire someone to kill your wife, don’t hire a psychopath.

2)Don’t use Drano to get rid of a dead body.

3)Those locks on hotel room doors? Not very secure.

4)A curly blond wig isn’t much of a disguise.

5)Secrets can kill.
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 20th 2011 by Hard Case Crime (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,383)
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Dan Schwent
Max Fischer hires a hitman to kill his wife so he can marry his secretary, the surgically enhanced Angela. Little does he know, the hitman is actually Angela's boyfriend and they're plotting against him. Throw in a blackmailer who catches Max and Angela in a compromising position and you have Bust.

Trying to choose someone to root for in this story is like trying to choose which shit sandwich you want to eat. They're all double dealing. You lose count of all the double crosses in this book as it
3.5 stars because I didn't like a single character in the book, but they were all believable & fascinating at the same time. My attention was riveted to the hackneyed plot; man is tired of wife, hires wife killed & then winds up in trouble. Oh, but what trouble! It's fantastic. There weren't many characters, but I felt I'd met each of them at one time or another since they were so well drawn. They actually reminded me of various people I have known.

This was written with Jason Starr. It'
The story of a man, Max Fischer, having an affair with his conniving secretary. Fischer hires a psycho to kill his wife. The psycho is the secretary's boyfriend. In true noir fashion, everything goes to hell. This was a collaboration involving Ken Bruen and Jason Starr. I have never read any Starr. My feelings about Bruen are overwhelmingly positive. I found this book to be generally worthwhile to read, though I do not think it stands up to any of Bruen's solo material. I will read the two other ...more
Mr. Matt
When I picked this book I had no idea of what I was in for. Bust was a book that made me think simultaneously of Fargo and Bonfire of the Vanities. And I enjoyed every minute of it. I wished I had picked it up earlier. It was that good.

Max Fisher is screwing his secretary, Angela. He thinks he's in love with her - or at least he's in love with her ... attributes. The only problem is that bitch of a wife of his will take him for everything he's got if he divorces her. Angela and Max cook up a so
Now this was a nice change. I was just starting to get burnt on the clever protagonist says witty things to get out of a jam and gets away with the dame and the loot type stories. No shiny side to this one. Almost need to take a shower after reading it. Not a single character is entirely sympathetic, you just pick your favorite scumbag and hope they come out on top of the scumbag dog pile. I wasn't rooting for any particular low-life and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Only one flaw-- ...more
Meet Max & Angela--the George & Gracie of crime. They are two of the most unlikable characters you will ever meet in the pulp world of crime novels. They are greedy, immoral, psychotic & above all, stupid with a capital "S". He is a corrupt businessman who is always looking for a con while she is his smokin' hot, herpes carrying secretary who is banging him for his money--the one who talks Max into hiring her serial killing boyfriend to knock off Max's wife for the insurance money. L ...more
Crude! but ahhhh! Hits the spot!
I find myself agreeing with other reviewers: every character in the book is dispicable. I wouldn't think this would bother me given my number one pet peeve with most commercial fiction: the flawless protagonist. So I don't know...I guess I like my bad guys to be a little more badass.
The authors might've reolved the nobody-to-like problem by having a larger role for the police detective.
Erin (*is in a reviewing slump*)
I didnt care for it at first but it slowly grew on me. Everyone turns out ganging up on everyone toward the end, creating a fun but tangled web. The herpes was funny at first, then too much, then funny again. None of the characters were likeable and possible to relate to, but this seems common with hard case crimes.
The best part of Bust is its title and cover. The title is great because of its intentional ambiguity. Does it mean an arrest, a failure, a statue, or a woman’s breasts? The cover is neat because of its five important lessons to be learned by reading Bust: not to pick a psycho as a hit man to kill your wife; not to use Drano for getting rid of a corpse; not to depend on hotel room locks, not to use a curly, blonde wig as a disguise; and not to keep secrets that can kill.

Inside the novel is a wor
Jul 23, 2013 Judi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judi by: Chuck Barksdale
Shelves: read-in-2013
“In this business, it’s make or break, and you gotta go for bust.”

I was pleased to see the Hard Case Crime sale and jumped at a chance to read all three of these books for under $10.00. I buy books all the time (too many) and don't often read them as soon as I buy them, but in this case I started BUST right away. I suspect my expectations were unreasonable... the idea that Ken Bruen and Jason Starr teamed up to write a three book series received a lot of hype in 2007... and our
The genre term pulp comes from the cheap paper that these books were printed during their original heyday. Another way to define pulp is as just plain fun. The authors were clearly having fun as they teamed up on this and two more books in the series and the reader is not left behind. Lots of sex, double dealing and violence splash from every page. After a bit of a rough start, the plot settles into a nice pass the ball rhythm--each character taking turns being on top of things before falling un ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Jennifer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who likes to see karma in action
This book was a bit like a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed chair. I can admire the artistry involved but it's not very comfortable to sit on. Similarly, this book was well-put together and noir-ishly funny but not much fun to read. That is, I hated pretty much every character and wanted them all to bite it by about page 154 (out of 254). Though I appreciated how the authors captured each character's self delusions perfectly, I have decided I need a little Sam Spade in my "there's a million stories i ...more
Brian Ingham

This is my first Ken Bruen book to read, and I have been a fan of Jason Starr's work for a few years. Very intriguing plotline, pulls you in right off the bat and takes you on a crazy, downward spiral like most classic Noir. Definitely worth the read if you enjoy modern day pulpy/noir fiction. 3/5 stars.
Kipp Poe
Fast paced can't put down

The book was one of those reads you count the minutes till you can get back to reading it.

Great characters violence and humor the new Pulp can't wait to read the other two
Bust (Max & Angela, #1 - Hard Case Crime, #20) by Ken Bruen Bust by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr - Excellent book. Not exactly a mystery but great crime-fiction. This is the first in a series of three. It's a Hard Case Crime book of which I have a few and had been looking forward to starting. Like I said, I was not disappointed. It's full of very hateable characters that I often find the most interesting. To sum it up in very few words - It's got all the basic ingredients needed for a good crime story: evil plotting, murder, sex, and a few twists and turn ...more
I read the second book in this series -- Slide -- before I read this one, which is the first. It didn't spoil anything to read them out-of-sequence, but in some ways I wish I'd located and read this one first, primarily because this book is slightly more delicious than "Slide." Starr and Bruen write so well together; I hope they collaborate on many more books, though I'm not sure the two anti-heroes -- Max and Angela -- can take of life and all of its voilent twists and turns. The authors have g ...more
wish there was a 1/2 star rating. I would put this book at 3 1/2 stars. If you want heroes in your stories this probably is not the book for you.
I started and finished this in one evening; it's that kind of book.

Bust focuses on three point-of-view characters: a penny-pinching sexist business exec (who can't wait to kill his wife); a busty Irish-Greek blonde (who wants the exec's money); and a former con photog/killer (now in a wheelchair). Throw in the blonde's IRA/hitman-wannabe boyfriend and several bottles of Drano, and you can see where this is heading.

Your mileage is going to depend on two factors. Do you like or hate the character
Joe Belfeuil
It's a tale that has been done often in the noir genre where the husband hires a hitman to kill his wife at the suggestion of his mistress. It was quite a slow burn, but when things started going south, they really started going south. It's a nice change of pace to read a book where none of the characters come off as being too clever. In a way, it reminded me of the film "Burn After Reading". None of the characters learned a lesson and they were all a bit dense. If you're looking to spend a nice ...more
Amusing, adequate crime novel. Never quite took off for me.
Summarizing the plot is simple: Man hires guy to kill wife and bad things happen. There's no one to like in this book. Everyone of the main characters are reprehensible which makes watching them fall apart entertaining. This is a good, gritty crime story set in New York. The characters are more stereotypes than characters but that's OK as it serves the story well. You don't read this book looking for great characters or an original story, you read it because you want a hard boiled crime book.
Marc Spiegel
Like Ken Bruen, but this is not up to his standards
Joel Ortiz-Quintanilla
This was a great read. I am a Ken Breun, and now i am a fan of Jason Starr as well. But this book was a good read. I read all the other parts and i think i read them out of order, but they did not disappoint. In this one, we are introduced into the main characters from all three novels. I am not a big fan of series, but i do like this one becuase it writes the way i want to write, gritty and funny and to the point.
I gave this two stars because the basic plot outline was remarkably well planned all things considered, but te writing style of this novel made me think that it was written by two ten-year-old boys who just learned a bunch of dirty words and sex jokes and then wanted to put them all in one place. It is too bad really because the other Jason Starr novel I read was great, and this just seemed like occasionally amusing trash.
What a wild and crazy ride! Many characters with interweaving stories. It sort of illustrates the ripple effect. Warning: very violent! And always remember: when you hire a hit man to kill your wife, don't pick a psycho; drano is not the best tool for getting rid of a dead body; those locks on hotel room doors - not very secure; a curly blond wig isn't much of a disguise; and secrets can kill.
Steve Malley
I don't get it-- on their own, Jason Starr and Ken Bruen write dark, twisted thrillers to scare the crap out of you. But put them together and they write dark, twisted thrillers that will have you laughing out loud. These guys are seriously FUNNY!

(And if you wrinkled your nose at the word 'crap', well... you really don't want to pick up this book.)

I don't get it-- but I sure do love it!
Grimy goodness is what is in store here. The characters are all nasty, the language filthy and the plotting is pleasantly twisty. Sure, there is not a lot new here (aside from some deft plotting,) but it is done so well. The characters are awful, but all so unself-aware that they are fascinating to read. The pacing is great, with practically no waste. The length is ideal.

A group of nasty people in New York do nasty things to each other and to random passers-by. Nobody comes out looking very good. Some very snappy dialogue and some nice scenes here, and a very effective downward spiral plot a la Fargo. Rated MA for frequent violence, frequent very coarse language, sex scenes and sexual references. 3/5
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Ken Bruen, born in Galway in 1951, is the author of The Guards (2001), the highly acclaimed first Jack Taylor novel. He spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, S.E. Asia and South America. His novel Her Last Call to Louis Mac Niece (1997) is in production for Pilgrim Pictures, his "White Trilogy" has been bought by Channel 4, and The Guards is to be filmed in Ireland by De ...more
More about Ken Bruen...

Other Books in the Series

Max & Angela (3 books)
  • Slide (Max & Angela, #2)
  • The Max (Max & Angela, #3)
The Guards (Jack Taylor, #1) The Killing Of The Tinkers (Jack Taylor, #2) The Magdalen Martyrs (Jack Taylor, #3) The Dramatist (Jack Taylor, #4) Priest (Jack Taylor, #5)

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“Max couldn’t believe he’d fallen for her. If he’d just had a thing for flat-chested women none of this would have happened.” 1 likes
“Even Def Leppard couldn’t get him out of his funk. When the Def couldn’t crank you, it was way past time to shoot someone.” 1 likes
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