FORGOTTEN BOOKS: Two-Way Split by Allan Guthrie



My pal Allan Guthrie will not be sending me any "cheers" for the title of this post, but I thought it a good time, if possible, to bring the book back to the forefront. Al would probably prefer I talk about one of his newer efforts, or even have him share a few words about what's coming down the pipe, but I think his first book is so terrific that it deserves a wider audience than it first received. When this novel came out several years ago, Guthrie and I had already been corresponding for a spell, and I even wrote a few articles for his Noir Originals web page (one, on Paul Cain's work, remains a favorite of mine). If you've never read Two-Way Split or anything else by Guthrie, correct that error at once. The book is still very much in print and available at Amazon, and you're in for the ride of your life.

When I finished the book the first time around, I felt that Guthrie had, basically, restored my faith in contemporary crime fiction. After being burned by too many of today's crime writers who seem to be turning out nothing but repetitive, formulaic junk, Guthrie produced a book full of non-stop action, great characters, and a story that will leave to gasping. After reviewing the novel again, I see no reason to revise that opinion; in fact, I cannot emphasize it enough. It's a hell of a book.

It's not a long book, but there's enough packed into it that you'd think it was 500 pages (if nothing else, Two-Way Split is proof novels don't need to be a doorstop to be exciting). Two-Way Split brings a new twist to the usual caper novel, and the actual "split" will have you thinking of another crime writer named Jim Thompson, recently spotted in Ohio but reportedly deceased, which makes the sighting strange, but you'll see how much better Guthrie handles that particular motif than Thompson ever could.

Cheers, Al.

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