“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
Never has this quote seem more prophetic than in Chris Rhatigan’s The Kind of FriendsWho Murder Each Other. Three people share their secrets and all three are willing to kill to keep them secrets.
When Simon, Mackey, and Slade set to drinking one night at the local bowling alley, their conversation follows the typical bar banter; taxes, the high cost of cigarettes, etc. This typical bar banter takes a dark turn when the friends each share a dark secret about themselves. The secrets range in depravity, from breaking into homes to watch people sleep, to being the driver in a hit and run accident and finally to admitting being guilty of murder, the friends each share a piece of their soul without thinking of the consequences.
The problem with their indiscretions become apparent when they each become paranoid that the others now have a bargaining chip over them. They realize that the only way to rectify their mistake is through the elimination of the other two. Each friend sets out to put their own plan of self-preservation into action, while also watching their own backs.
One of the highlights of this book is the manner in which Rhatigan portrays the decomposition of the narrator’s mind and soul. At the beginning of the book, Simon seems like a stable, hard working man, but as the story progresses we start to see all the cracks that exist within him and we know this story won’t end well for him.
This is noir just the way I like it … a quick hit that leaves a mark. I'm very glad to see this book getting re-released and it's apparent All Due Respect has another winner on their hands. Friends is a noir lovers dream and is best consumed in one sitting so you can truly appreciate Rhatigan’s genius.
Review by Derrick Horodyski