When you create a masterpiece there is always the pressure to exceed expectations when it comes to the follow up. Such was the pressure for Scott Phillips author of The Ice Harvest. Scott’s first book is a classic, in the style of Pulp gods Jim Thompson and James M Cain, a book so mouthwateringly perfect in it’s execution it was quickly made into a movie starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton Connie Nielson, Randy Quaid, and Oliver Platt.
The movie proved too left field for critics, and struggled at the box office. It does however remain a crime classic that Crimeziners should rent immediately if not sooner. Scott said of the movie: I know it is against Writer’s Guild rules to like a movie Hollywood makes out of your book, I couldn’t be happier about it, I urge everyone to rent it…
But the book is where it is really at, and everyone knows it. Cut to Wichita Kansas Christmas Eve 1979. It is snowing. Spend a night with on-the-ropes mob lawyer Charlie Arglist, as he struggles through a dark underworld of death and betrayal, culminating in a payday that could finally see him free and clear of a world that is sucking him into a slow an inexorable demise. Will Charlie make it? The odds aren’t good, and the ending shockingly unexpected.
Mystery, suspense, black humor, and cruel irony, Ice Harvest has it all. So is Scott the JD Salinger of crime fiction? We thought so here at Crimezine for many a long year. The 2002 follow up to Ice Harvest The Walkaway was a lackluster effort by comparison—but wait, Scott’s genre defying Cottonwood, a novel widely lauded by Crimezine regulars Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos is now available.
You need further recommendation? Crimezine has had several copies of Ice Harvest on its heavy laden bookshelves, thieves have stolen every one of them… they left the JD Salinger… Criminals, they got no shame.