Dan Schwent's Reviews > Blood on the Mink

Blood on the Mink by Robert Silverberg
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bookshelves: hardcase, crime-and-mystery, 2012, cool-covers, confession-time

A secret agent takes the place of hoodlum Vic Lowney and hits Philadelphia with one goal: taking down a counterfeiting ring. It would be dangerous enough without the counterfeiter's mistress making him a proposition of her own...

I have a confession to make. While I am a sf/fantasy fan from way back, I have somehow managed to avoid reading Robert Silverberg until now. If his usual fare is as good as the detective stories he wrote to pay the bills when the sf market was tanking, I'll have to give him a shot.

On the surface, Blood on the Mink isn't anything out of the ordinary for the Hard Case line. In fact, at first glance, it was one of the books that made me question Hard Case's selection policies. "I've got this author I like that I just found out wrote some crappy pulp novels" or "I really like this author. What book can we get the rights for for cheap?" Fortunately, it quickly laid my fears to rest.

Blood on the Mink is an endless web of double-dealing and double-crosses. You've got the two counterfeit operations, Ricky Chavez, the engraver's daughter, and Klaus's mistress, all with their own agendas. Even though the main story is only 157 pages, Silverberg drags the reader through a miles long obstacle course of plot twists. By the end, I had no idea what was going to go down.

The characters are fairly standard archetypes. Greedy hoods, for the most part. The women in noir novels are either whores or virgins. Carol Champlain and Elena fill those roles to the letter. The only variable is Nick, aka Vic Lowney. He reminds me of Roger Zelazny's man with no name in My Name is Legion more than anything else.

The writing does its job. There were a few quotable lines but Silverberg's noir prose isn't going to make anyone forget about Raymond Chandler. Like I said, it got the job done.

While I wouldn't want this to be anyone's first Hard Case, it's a worthy addition to the line. It would probably also appeal to Silverberg's longtime readers. Whether or not that value would go beyond curiosity remains to be seen. I'll give it a 3.
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Reading Progress

August 6, 2011 – Shelved
December 15, 2011 – Shelved as: hardcase
April 3, 2012 – Shelved as: crime-and-mystery
April 13, 2012 – Started Reading
April 15, 2012 –
page 20
8.93%
April 16, 2012 –
page 56
25.0%
April 16, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012
April 16, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 2, 2012 – Shelved as: cool-covers
October 15, 2012 – Shelved as: confession-time

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Curious to hear what you think of this. I'm a big Silverberg fan, but it has all been SF/fantasy.


message 2: by Jayaprakash (new)

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Dan, you must read Silverberg's SF! Dying Inside, The Book Of Skulls and Nightwings are all genre classics and nearly everything else I've read has been good to great. But he also produced great wads of soft porn and pulp crime to pay the bills, keeping up a rate of production that resulted in the first of a series of burnouts that seem to have punctuated his career.


message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Jayaprakash wrote: "Dan, you must read Silverberg's SF! Dying Inside, The Book Of Skulls and Nightwings are all genre classics and nearly everything else I've read has been good to great. But he also produced great wa..."

Didn't DC do a graphic novel version of Nightwings in the 1980's? I'll probably give him a shot at some point. My to-read pile doesn't ever seem to get any smaller...


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent It was a fun story. I also didn't think it seemed as dated as a lot of pulp detective stories do.


message 5: by Harold (new)

Harold I've read 2 or 3 of the hard case books and enjoyed them for what they were - for me just a little light break from heavier reading.


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Harold wrote: "I've read 2 or 3 of the hard case books and enjoyed them for what they were - for me just a little light break from heavier reading."

I've read the entire Hard Case line over the last few years. Some of them are outstanding but most of them are fair to good.


message 7: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Iden Lord Valentine's Castle (+ the others in the series) probably did more to form me as a kid than any other set of books except LOTR and Fritz Leiber's F&GM series. A must-read for F/SF fans...dreamy, thoughtful, absorbing.


message 8: by Dan (last edited Apr 18, 2012 02:31PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Matthew wrote: "Lord Valentine's Castle (+ the others in the series) probably did more to form me as a kid than any other set of books except LOTR and Fritz Leiber's F&GM series. A must-read for F/SF fans...dreamy..."

Is that the Majipoor series or something like that? I've had my eye on those but never picked them up. Leiber is some of my favorite fantasy.


message 9: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Iden Dan wrote: Is that the Majipoor series or something like that?

Yep. 'Castle is the best of the three, by far, and at like 600 pages almost its own trilogy. You could read that and be fine.

No one compares to Leiber, in my mind. I read the first 6 or so F&GM books almost every year. Glad to find another fan!


message 10: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Matthew wrote: "Dan wrote: Is that the Majipoor series or something like that?

Yep. 'Castle is the best of the three, by far, and at like 600 pages almost its own trilogy. You could read that and be fine.

No one..."


I've been meaning to re-read them. It'll probably be 2013 though.


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