RARA-AVIS: Block month ain't over yet!--LONG GREEN HEART review

From: Curt Purcell ( curtpurcell@hotmail.com)
Date: 23 Dec 2007

THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART by Lawrence Block (Hard Case Crime 2005)

I read this right on the heels of Grifter's Game, and I have to say, I didn't expect them to be nearly so similar in premise. In both, a grifter falls hard for a girl, who cons him into helping her get some rich guy's money.

A lot of people really seem to like this one, and even count it among Block's best work, but I think it suffers in comparison to Grifter's Game. Whereas that one has a brisk, terse pace and murder as the central crime, Long Green Heart is all about the "long con"--a big-money scheme that involves a lot of detailed (tediously so) preparation and even more patience as the "mark" basically manages, by slow, small degrees, to con himself into going along with it. Even the characters complain at times about how boring and hard it is to wait so long, and I certainly didn't find it terribly exciting to read about.

Furthermore, Game has a much more noirishly nihilistic ending, with both characters going to hell with their eyes wide open, whereas Long Green Heart actually ends on a succession of upbeat notes.

Heart isn't bad by a long shot, but I just really like Game better, and considering the fundamental similarities, I can only give this one a halfhearted (no pun intended) recommendation.

See also the Bookgasm review:


This review originally posted at:


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