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LONGLISTED FOR THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FIRST BOOK AWARD
In a hard-boiled city of crooks, grifts and rackets lurk a pair of toughs: Box and _____. They’re the kind of men capable of extracting apologies and reparations, of teaching you a chilling lesson. They seldom think twice, and ask very few questions.
Until one night over the poker table, they encounter a pulp writer with wild ideas and an unscrupulous private detective, leading them into what is either a classic mystery, a senseless maze of corpses, or an inextricable fever dream . . .
Drunk on cinematic and literary influence, Muscle is a slice of noir fiction in collapse, a ceaselessly imaginative story of violence, boredom and madness.
Muscle unfolds like a series of Russian Dolls, each more Beckettian, winding and wonderful than the one before. Compelling enough to read in one gulping go.
What a rare and accomplished debut this is - it teases out classic Noir riffs and set-ups but in a language sinuous enough, and with invention ripe enough, to make them feel new.
A dazzling, muscular debut that is as gritty as it is absurd. Muscle manages to surprise at every turn.
Alan Trotter's Muscle bowls me over. The language of it – the complete boldness and control. Trotter plays with genre with a deft dark humour, the result is a one of the best books I've read in ages. A striking debut from a fierce talent.
A breathless, breakneck debut; a dizzying amalgam of exploded hard-boiled-isms, modernist acrobatics and hallucinatory sci-fi, propelled by relentlessly inventive prose.
Muscle reads like a tragi-comic mash-up of Elmore Leonard and Samuel Beckett, with more than a dash of Tarantino for added zing. Trotter delights in the language of noir fiction . . . Trotter is undoubtedly a writer to watch.
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