The Ice Harvest

The Ice Harvest

Book - 2000
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Baker & Taylor
As lawyer Charlie Arglist prepares to leave Wichita, Kansas, with a suitcase full of stolen money, he revisits the scenes of his past--his angry ex-wife, ex-lovers, cops on the take, and bars filled with secrets that others will do anything to hide.

Blackwell North Amer
Loaded guns, ladies of the night, broken neon, broken dreams. Here is a world that is immediately recognizable - through a shot glass at three A.M. This is life with rough edges, in a novel that gives you the straight goods - point blank - one cold, snowbound Christmas Eve in Kansas. One single night, defined in shadings of black and white, when everything changes.
For most, the city is closing up. For a few outsiders, this night, Christmas Eve 1979, is just beginning. Charlie Arglist is a lawyer saying good-bye to Wichita by revisting the landscape of his used-up life: the cold stare of his angry ex-wife, the empty strip clubs and bars where loneliness turns a profit, the frozen glare of ex-lovers and cops long snuggled in his deep pockets. Club owner Renata, a woman too elegant for the smoky dive she owns, dreams of financial prosperity and holds a single frame of stolen film that could help her achieve it. And there's Vic. He's got a reputation, a bad temper, and a secret worth half a million dollars. Not to mention a knack for bringing people together...for the last time. Before the night is over, the decisions they face and the choices they make will irrevocably alter the course of their lives - if they can live long enough to see Christmas Day sunrise.

& Taylor

As lawyer Charlie Arglist prepares to leave Witchita, Kansas, with a suitcase full of stolen money, he sets out to revisit the scenes of his used up life--his angry ex-wife, ex-lovers, cops on the take, and empty bars and clubs filled with secrets that others will do anything to hide. A first novel. 20,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345440181
Characteristics: 217 p. ; 21 cm


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Aug 21, 2017

Very entertaining and fun to read. The book has an extraordinary structure. First, it all unfolds over a period of about 20 hours. Second, there is little narrative background supplied. We learn very little about the central character's or any of the main characters' personal backgrounds or histories. Just a few basic facts and none of it is fleshed out. Third, the plot is revealed slowly. Only after more than 100 pages is it clear as to what is happening, i.e. what is driving the action. For the first more than 100 pages the antihero drifts from bar to bar drinking and talking with drunks, bartenders and strippers. This book develops through dialogue.

Add to these unusual formal qualities a bent, macabre sense of humor, extreme violence dealt with in loving detail and a dark worldview based on distrust, violence, loveless relationships and alcohol and you have one twisted, entertaining and dark novel.

May 26, 2016

Scott Phillips knows exactly how to Make Kansas Great Again! I don't know the official title of this genre but I call it Country Pulp Western Noir. He makes Kansas sound like an exciting, crime filled, drug fueled, passionate, sexy, destination full of life and adventure. In reality it is a boring, backwards, redneck, Koched out, Brownback hell with deteriorating school districts, ubiquitous strip malls full of Target Stores, Chipotle, Whole Foods and high end Chick-fil-a outlets, a uge prairie with a few small towns full of tweakers and one college town with education snobs and another with Monsanto sponsored agriculture cowboys and a DHS laboratory full of the deadliest viruses known to man. I prefer Scott's version better and so he is one of those rare authors whom I will run out and read everything he has written.

LaBeteNoir May 08, 2012

Noir, dark/humorous novel set in 1979 Witcha has a build-in quick pacing of a Christmas season.

Sep 16, 2009

wonderful, nasty noir

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