For Victor Cox, a professor of film history, the Hollywood films noirs of the 1940s and 1950s are more real than his daily life. When his wife is found drowned, Cox is the first murder suspect. He falls in love with a student who looks like the 1920s film star Louise Brooks, but she disappears at a Belgian seaside resort. Smeared in lipstick in their hotel room are the words "No Sale," the same words Elizabeth Taylor wrote on a mirror in Butterfield 8. Subsequently, a series of gruesome killings of young women, all modeled on violent deaths in films that he knows and loves, lead the police back to Cox, who starts to doubt his own sanity and innocence.
With its stylish writing, pointed references to cinema classics, and blend of horror and humor, this is a powerful psychological thriller. It won the Diamond Bullet Award, the Edgar Award for Belgium.
'We all know about life imitating art, but what about novels imitating film—film noir in particular? Patrick Conrad's No Sale (the words written in lipstick on a mirror by Gloria Wandrous, the Elizabeth Taylor character in Butterfield 8) is only the latest in a short list of crime fiction that draws on film noir for both plot and mood. It makes a peculiar kind of fictional sense that characters obsessed with film noir would find the worlds of the films they adore superimposed upon their personal lives. Make sure your subscription to Netflix is up-to-date before sampling this hypnotic novel.' Booklist
'Imagine a metafiction serial-killer thriller written by Paul Auster on speed.When even the investigating cop sees himself as Dirty Harry, this amusing, teasing, film-crazy novel keeps you guessing through every reel.' Crime Time
'Surprisingly zippy read which moves at a fair clip, the pace maintained by cinematic scene shifts and splashes of black humour. Who was it said that crime fiction in translation was never fun?
That was probably me.' Shotsmag
Patrick Conrad, born in 1945 in Antwerp, is a Flemish poet, screenwriter, film director, and novelist. He lives in Provence, in the south of France. Limousine, a previous novel, is being made into a film with Kelsey Grammar, to be released in 2012.