Book Review: No Strings by Mark SaFranko

Mark SaFrankoHow many of you really read pulp-fiction? And how many of you bemoan the genre of pulp-fiction. By definition it is allegedly cheap writing on cheap pulp paper. Yet, somehow, genius emerges even in such decrepitness. It is like watching a beautiful lotus bloom at night in the middle of a sewage pond. Is it the night that darkens the mood? Is it the sewage that betrays the night? Is it the lotus which makes us feel comfortable in the dark, stenchful, middle of nowhere?

What I am rambling about is the latest work by Mark SaFranko. A writer who just happens to write hardboiled fiction. Startling thrillers. Yet they are not what you see in mainstream bookstores with large cut-out advertisements promoting their run-of-the-mill product as the new New York Times Bestseller. Mark SaFranko is a writer first and a pulp narrator later.

He knows his craft. So you don’t get silly slang nor useless poetry. What you get is raw and naked like the woman next door to your motel room or the food rotting in your fridge.

Another speciality of Mark SaFranko is relationships. Especially the rough, warm, uneasy and ecstatic relation between a man and a woman. They come in and they go out. They move in and they move out. What remains is the lesson that man (and woman) are bound by human nature, temptation and the errant hand of fate.

In “No Strings” we have snoop-jobs, bunch of women, sex, obsession, guilt, blackmail, death, love, disillusionment, crime and punishment. This is a heady mix of fun, sin and literary effort. A combination that Mark has excelled in previously as well – whether it be the dreary “The Favor” or the rabid “Hating Olivia”. Here again, he combines “wit, women and worry” to churn out a thriller and a truly enjoyable pulp fiction. Try one, try the rest. Keep reading fellas.

Extract from the novel: “For the first time in a long while I was in the mood to accomplish something. I switched off the TV and pulled out the Oriole epilepsy drug ads and spread them over my desk. Then I picked up my red pen and went to work.”

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