"Hlasko was an original. His novels were fearless, his vision unsparing, and decades later, his darkly brilliant work has lost none of its power to unsettle. He achieved what few other writers ever have: he turned the literary landscape into a much more interesting place than it was when he found it." --Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, Last Night in Montreal and The Singer's Gun "Blowtorch of a novel . . . matchless and prescient."-Publishers Weekly "Spokesman for those who were angry and beat . . . turbulent, temperamental, and tortured."-The New York Times "A self-taught writer with an uncanny gift for narrative and dialogue . . . a born rebel and troublemaker of immense charm."-Roman Polanski In this novel of breathtaking tension and sweltering love, two desperate friends on the edge of the law-one of them tough and gutsy, the other small and scared-travel to the southern Israeli city of Eilat to find work. There, Dov Ben Dov, the handsome native Israeli with a reputation for causing trouble, and Israel, his sidekick, stay with Ben Dov's recently married younger brother, Little Dov, who has enough trouble of his own. Local toughs are encroaching on Little Dov's business, and he enlists his older brother to drive them away. It doesn't help that a beautiful German widow named Ursula is rooming next door. What follows is a story of passion, deception, violence, and betrayal, all conveyed in hardboiled prose reminiscent of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, with a cinematic style that would make Humphrey Bogart and Marlon Brando green with envy. Marek Hlasko, known as the James Dean of Eastern Europe, was exiled from Communist Poland and spent his life wandering the globe. He died in 1969 of an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills in Wiesbaden, Germany.