Julie is released from an insane asylum and is hired as Peter's nanny. Peter's uncle, Michel, hires a hitman to kill him. And off we go! Never an unnecessary word, always a brisk pace, no one writes a chase story like Manchette! - randy
An NYRB Classics Original Winner of the French-American Foundation Translation Prize for Fiction Michel Hartog, a sometime architect, is a powerful businessman and famous philanthropist whose immense fortune has just grown that much greater following the death of his brother in an accident. Peter is his orphaned nephew--a spoiled brat. Julie is in an insane asylum. Thompson is a hired gunman with a serious ulcer. Michel hires Julie to look after Peter. And he hires Thompson to kill them. Julie and Peter escape. Thompson pursues. Bullets fly. Bodies accumulate. The craziness is just getting started. Like Jean-Patrick Manchette's celebrated Fatale, The Mad and the Bad is a clear-eyed, cold-blooded, pitch-perfect work of creative destruction.
About the Author
Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) was a genre-redefining French crime novelist, screenwriter, critic, and translator. Born in Marseille to a family of relatively modest means, Manchette grew up in a southwestern suburb of Paris, where he wrote from an early age. While a student of English literature at the Sorbonne, he contributed articles to the newspaper La Voie communiste and became active in the national students' union. In 1961 he married, and with his wife Mélissa began translating American crime fiction--he would go on to translate the works of such writers as Donald Westlake, Ross Thomas, and Margaret Millar, often for Gallimard's Série noire. Throughout the 1960s Manchette supported himself with various jobs writing television scripts, screenplays, young-adult books, and film novelizations. In 1971 he published his first novel, a collaboration with Jean-Pierre Bastid, and embarked on his literary career in earnest, producing ten subsequent works over the course of the next two decades and establishing a new genre of French novel, the néo-polar (distinguished from traditional detective novel, or polar, by its political engagement and social radicalism). During the 1980s, Manchette published celebrated translations of Alan Moore's Watchmen graphic novels for a bande-dessinée publishing house co-founded by his son, Doug Headline. In addition to Fatale (also available as an NYRB Classic), Manchette's novels Three to Kill and The Prone Gunman, as well as Jacques Tardi's graphic-novel adaptations of them (titled West Coast Blues and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, respectively), are available in English. Donald Nicholson-Smith's translations of noir fiction include Manchette's Three to Kill; Thierry Jonquet's Mygale (a.k.a. Tarantula); and (with Alyson Waters) Yasmina Khadra's Cousin K. He has also translated works by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Henri Lefebvre, Raoul Vaneigem, Antonin Artaud, Jean Laplanche, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Guy Debord. For NYRB Classics he has translated Manchette's Fatale and is presently working on Jean-Paul Clébert's Paris Insolite. Born in Manchester, England, he is a longtime resident of New York City. James Sallis's recent and forthcoming books include the novel Others of My Kind, a reissue of his novel Death Will Have Your Eyes, and Black Night's Gonna Catch Me Here: Selected Poems 1968-2012. He is also the author of Drive and of Chester Himes: A Life, and the translator of Raymond Queneau's novel Saint Glinglin.
“Cool, compact, and shockingly original.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“Manchette steeped himself in the works of American noir masters such as Hammett, Chandler and James M. Cain. He was fluent in English, thanks to a thriller-loving Scots grandmother, and for years he worked as a translator of figures like Donald Westlake, Ross Thomas and Robert Bloch. The influence is clear: Manchette skillfully subverts typical noir situations, such as the family man who walks away when danger strikes (Three to Kill), the solitary figure who snuffs out small-town corruption (Fatale) and the retired killer drafted for one last assignment against his will (The Prone Gunman).... Perhaps the renewed chance to read Manchette in English will similarly provoke a new generation of crime writers to douse their work in acid-washed reality.” —Sarah Weinman, The Wall Street Journal “‘The crime novel,’ [Manchette] claimed, ‘is the great moral literature of our time’—shortly before he set about proving it.” —James Sallis, The Boston Globe
“In France, which long ago embraced American crime fiction, thrillers are referred to as polars. And in France the godfather and wizard of polars is Jean-Patrick Manchette.... He’s a massive figure.... There is gristle here, there is bone.” —The Boston Globe
“Manchette is legend among all of the crime writers I know, and with good reason: his novels never fail to stun and thrill from page one.” —Duane Swierczynski, author of Expiration Date
“Manchette pushes the Situationist strategy of dérive and détournement to the point of comic absurdity, throwing a wrench into the workings of his main characters’ lives and gleefully recording the anarchy that results.” —Jennifer Howard, Boston Review