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Death by the Book (Jack Susko, #1)
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Death by the Book (Jack Susko #1)

3.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  81 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Jack Susko is enjoying a quiet life as the owner of a secondhand bookstore, preferably in the company of his cat rather than actual paying customers. But when Hammond Kasprowicz, a crabby but wealthy businessman, offers Jack some easy money, of course Jack doesn’t turn down the offer. After all, what problem could there possibly be with locating as many copies as possible ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2010)
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Jun 14, 2010 Elaine added it
I picked this book up simply because I liked the title. The fact that it was about a book seller helped too of course. I like mysteries, but I do not normally read crime dramas. I prefer my mysteries to have either a romance or paranormal twist to them, so this book was out of my comfort zone.

Having said all that, I cannot decide if I did not like the book simply because it was not my style or because it was so dark. I think those are actually the same thing in this case.

Jack Susko is not a lika
Feb 01, 2014 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I so could not get into this book- Don't get me wrong- I just it dragged too much for me.
Feb 24, 2014 Sandy rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This book was page turner. The main character Jack Susco is a second hand bookstore owner that gets involved with a very rich very nasty family. This involvement ends up getting him in trouble with the police and him getting hurt.

Jack is a very sarcastic person and I felt some of the dialog was forced into being sarcastic and didn't really fit the scene.

This book was the first in a series, but I am not sure I would go out of my way to pick up another one as it was a little darker than I general
Catherine Woodman
This is a new author, and his first book, so one has to be a bit more generous. The book is well written for the mystery genre, but not brilliantly so (he is not up with the Scandanavian masters, for example, or even Gary Disher, from his home country), but he is good, and I would recommend him to an avid mystery reader, someone who is reading 30+ mysteries a year. The protagonist is appealing in a don't want to know him but don't hate him kind of way, and the plot is a good idea--themes of fami ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-reads
Reads like Bartulin thought his publisher charged by the comma. Jack Susko, the author's tough guy used book dealer (and boy does that feel like an oxymoron just typing it), comes across as a less-charming version of John Dunning's Cliff Janeway. The plot trips along quickly, going mostly obvious places, and held together by a web of coincidences and facts not revealed to the reader until the climax. It's functional, but not exactly fun, and rarely even funny, barring the scream-worthy title. ( ...more
Amy Paget
Jun 13, 2015 Amy Paget rated it it was ok
I try to read EVERY mystery title set in a library or a bookstore. This was fun. There is a second novel in the works, of course!

"After crabby businessman Hammond Kasprowicz hires secondhand bookstore owner Jack Susko to find as many copies of an obscure poet's works as possible, Jack is happy to make some extra cash, but is baffled when Hammond burns every copy he finds." -- Novelist.
Dec 17, 2015 Opera4fun rated it really liked it
I enjoed this read. It's the first Jack Susko book. He's a used book store owner who gets involved with some pretty shady elements trying to help a damsel in distress. Well written and I wanted to read more. I'm having trouble finding the other Susko e-books. Nicely done.
Aug 22, 2010 Peter rated it it was ok
This is totuted as the first Jack Susko novels by Australian Poet Lenny Bartulin. Susko is a former bad guy turned used book dealer in Sydney Australia. As the cover blurbs suggest Bartulin is a bit of a noir fan and there are some classic twists in this relatively thin and contrived plot about a couple of femme fatales who decide to use a book dealer to bump off a multi-millionaire bad man with a hatred of his poet brother. There are occassional flashes of good writing and humour but I'll wait ...more
Feb 08, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
Jack Susko, an only moderately successful used book dealer, thinks he's on to a good thing when an autocratic millionaire asks him to buy up all known copies of the books of a minor poet. When the millionaire's daughter Annabelle appears on the scene, Jack falls hard--but Annabelle's cousin, the poet's daughter, begs Jack to sell the books to her, not to her uncle. But it's only after the deaths start that Jack begins to understand that he's being set up as a patsy--and it may be too late for hi ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Bill rated it liked it
I have been to Sydney several times so I enjoyed the cultural, geographic, and politicial witticisms that permeated the book. The plot itself was not particularly strong and the characterization left me wondering about almost each character in the book. By far the book's strong point was the rapid fire dialogue and back and forth among the main character, Jack, and whomever he was talking with. The dialogue kept me enetertained throughout.
Sep 27, 2010 Maryellen rated it liked it
Susko is asked to track down all the books by an obscure poet. Susko is a Sam Spade like character with a maybe shady background, a thing for the women and a habit of getting into sticky situations. He runs a used book store. Set in Australia. Fast reading, likable main character decent mystery. The women are femme fatales which always bores\fascinates me(are men SO Dumb, answer YES). If you like Dashall Hammett you'll like this.
Trina Jones
Jun 26, 2012 Trina Jones rated it liked it
Used book store dealer Jack Susko is very reminiscent of the Cliff Janeway character created by John Dunn except that he lives in Australia and is not an hardboiled ex-cop. Nevertheless, he does deal in rare books which somehow lands him in some very harrowing situations amongst unscruppulous characters and femme fatales. I'm looking forward to finding out how this plays out.
Jul 25, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: book-discussions
This mystery book takes place in Australia. It's an ok mystery-one that left me wondering who was behind the killings up to the very end of the book. The main character, Jack Susko, is a rare book dealer, who has a very colorful sense of humor. This is the first book in a supposidly series (seeing this book is a 2010 one wonders when book 2 will come out.
Jun 18, 2015 Richard rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-like
Main character tires the reader as a smart-ass and plot is so-so, TV stuff, dumb. Could have been better, some writing talent, good verb choices.
Nov 18, 2013 Leslea rated it liked it
It was ok. Set in a 2nd hand book store (what's not to like there??) with a mystery and murder thrown in. Good story and I generally liked the characters. Possibly the 1st in a series and would probably read the next one. Not too exciting but still a good read.
Anne Dart
Jul 06, 2013 Anne Dart rated it liked it
Basically the book proves the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The bookstore dealer had no idea what he was getting involved in when he agreed to find some old books for a wealthy client. It was an OK mystery but not great by any means.
Jun 06, 2010 Sharonm rated it liked it
This was an amusing sort of noir, sort of cozy, mystery involving an Australian bookseller. The bookseller was pretty macho, throwing punches more than seemed necessary. But still I enjoyed it and I will look for more in the series.
Mar 29, 2010 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Australian poet Bartulin's first mystery: used bookshop owner Jack Susko gets drawn into a murder mystery and his rebellious streak leads him to make bad choices when dealing with the cops. That always means trouble. A good first outing.
Leslie Angel
Jan 22, 2010 Leslie Angel rated it it was ok
Disappointing. Protag. owns a used and rare book shop. Asked to find works of an obsure poet. Sounded great, but wasn't really about books, mostly sex and violence. Too bad. BC
JoAnn Jordan
Mar 28, 2010 JoAnn Jordan rated it liked it
This is a good novel. The characters are interesting and the ending is unexpected. I enjoyed reading this book.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery.
this is a good book set in Sydney about a bookseller who is a bit of a magnet for trouble, well he seems to stumble into it. I'm looking forward to the next book.
Aug 18, 2010 Wrdwrrior rated it did not like it
Didn't know you could build an entire book on metaphors! Boy was I tire of mediocre writing and usually trivial metaphors. Don't waste your time
Feb 11, 2010 Ksafford rated it it was ok
I have just started this book but am enjoying it so far. A second-hand bookstore owner becomes involved in murder.
Lian Tanner
Dec 13, 2012 Lian Tanner rated it really liked it
Light, witty, noir. Set in Sydney. I enjoyed the dry humour a lot and will look out for Bartulin's next book.
Melissa Wehunt
Death by the Book (A Jack Susko Mystery) by Lenny Bartulin (2010)
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Lenny Bartulin is the author of Death by the Book aka A Deadly Business (2008). His poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including HEAT, Meanjin, and New Australian Stories. His latest novel is The Black Russian.

Lenny Bartulin was born in Hobart in 1969 and lives in Sydney.
More about Lenny Bartulin...

Other Books in the Series

Jack Susko (3 books)
  • The Black Russian (Jack Susko, #2)
  • De Luxe

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