When Dennis McMillan Publications originally released this in the summer of 2007, Booklist saw fit to give The Art of Redemption a *Starred Review*. Bill Ott said “Don’t be fooled into thinking that Truluck’s third novel is yet another nostalgic salute to the pulp era: one more simile-strewn re-creation of the tough-talking Black Mask gang’s pennies-a-word, rat-a-tat prose. Yes, there are plenty of gats and gunsels in these pages, but Truluck is no imitator. Take the setup: a private eye, Jimmy Cotton, visits his ninety something partner and mentor, Joe Ready, on Joe’s deathbed. Joe wants to hear all his old stories, the ones he told Jimmy 30 years ago, the ones that drew the young Jimmy, then a disillusioned hippie, into the business of tracking kidnappers and their victims. And so it goes: Jimmy, speaking in Joe’s voice, tells Joe the story of his own life: encounters with Ma Barker, the Lindbergh kidnappers, and Meyer Lansky, among others. The content is pure 1930s, but the pulpers’ narrative structure of choice didn’t employ voices within voices within voices. The dialogue, too, may start out sounding like it’s straight from the pages of Black Mask, but then you realize that Truluck has substituted a chord here and flatted a few dozen fifths there, like Thelonius Monk playing “April in Paris.” And there’s an edge to Joe Ready that you wouldn’t find in a pulp hero, a sense that he’s fooling himself about half the time. So do we all, of course, but we don’t have Jimmy there at the end to tell us our own stories the way we want to hear them. Think about that: bittersweet is not a flavor one associates with the hard-boiled style, but Truluck makes it taste just right.”
This book is well worth a read.
You can find the Kindle edition here and the Nook version is here.