The Singer’s Gun
When I posted a picture of Emily St. John Mandel's third novel, The Lola Quartet, on Instagram this summer, literally dozens of readers messaged me and said some version of the following: "I'm so excited that Emily St. John Mandel has a new book coming out. I loved her first book, Station Eleven. How long do I have to wait to read this next one?" (Mandel does have a new book in the works. The Glass Hotel is expected in 2019, and I, for one, cannot wait to read it. But your responses made me realize that not enough readers know about her other books.) The Singer's Gun was Emily St. John Mandel's second novel, published in 2010. In fact, St. John Mandel said she wrote Station Eleven in a deliberately different genre, because she was afraid of getting pigeonholed as a crime writer. Mandel handles deceit and deception really well. In The Singer's Gun Anton Walker has walked away from the family business of false documents, when his cousin ropes him back for just one more job with a bit of blackmail (his final act of forgery was the Harvard diploma that hangs on his office wall). Anton is stuck between his new simple life, outfitted with apartment, fiancée, and an Italian honeymoon on the horizon, and what he hopes will be an easy price for his promised freedom. He counts the cost, and makes his decision. And that's when things get really interesting.
Everyone Anton Walker grew up with is corrupt. His parents dealt in stolen goods, and he was a successful purveyor of forged documents until he abandoned it all in his early twenties, determined to live a normal life, complete with career, apartment, and a fiancée who knows nothing of his criminal beginnings. He’s on the verge of finally getting married when Aria—his cousin and former partner in crime—blackmails him into helping her with one last job.
Anton considers the task a small price for future freedom. But as he sets off for an Italian honeymoon, it soon becomes clear that the ghosts of his past can’t be left behind so easily, and that the task Aria requires will cost him more than he could ever imagine.