by Peter Manus


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Perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes’s You and the thrillers of S.J. Watson, Peter Manus has written a twisting noir mystery that Booklist calls, “An incredibly daring novel and a complete success.”

The distance between what you see and what you believe can be the distance between life and death.

On a winter night in Boston, a man falls to his death in front of a subway train. The sole witness, a shaken young woman, explains to the police how the man shoved her aside as he made his way to the tracks. But when her blog turns up on the dead man's computer, the cops begin to look for other connections. Was the man a cyber-stalker, charmed to the point of desperation by the irreverent musings of a noir-obsessed blogger? Or are the connections between subway jumper and innocent bystander more complicated?

This dark and intricate tale of obsession and deception is told in the form of a blog written by an elusive narrator known only by her online name, "l.g. fickel." Deep into the night, every night, fickel blogs about "Mr. Suicide" and the ensuing police investigation with an eerie prescience. She is joined in her blog chats by a loyal group of obsessives, all of whom share with fickel a passion for the dark art of noir. Is fickel's tale that of an innocent woman frantically trying to figure out how her blogging has enmeshed her in a murder spree, or is she a manipulator, playing the part of sexy, hip, young thing as she grinds out her revenge on those she feels have betrayed her?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626818422
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 01/17/2017
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Peter Manus was born and raised in New York City. He lives and writes in Boston and Nantucket.

Read an Excerpt



Noir the Night Away With L.G. Fickel

January 21 @ 11:48 pm >I WITNESS A SUICIDE

Strange end to a strange evening tonight — at around 8:30 a man committed suicide by dropping himself in front of the inbound at the Hynes T station.


marleybones @ January 22 12:05 am

You ... want to run that by us again, fickel, with maybe a scosh more detail?

fickel @ January 22 12:12 am

I do. Earlier this evening I was standing on the Hynes subway platform (freezing my ass off) when a man bumped me on his way by — a tad peculiar because the platform was almost empty. Far more peculiar was the fact that he just kept going. Dropped over the edge right at my feet, putting me in the unfortunate position of witnessing everything. Train moshing — a thrill I'd never realized was missing from my life.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 12:23 am

O my lawd spill AWL, gurl — u need 2.

fickel @ January 22 12:25 am

Here's how it went down. The guy pushes by me like he's propelling himself, does a half turn on the edge, then goes in backwards, maybe so he didn't have to see it. Train came on him fast — he didn't have time to get up or roll. The truth is he just lay on his back between the rails, like a man going to bed. Freaky all around.

Of course the train driver slammed on the brake, so there was this unearthly SHREEEEEEEEH of metal on metal. Almost saved him — I swear, the front of the train seemed to do no more than nudge the guy, and I remember thinking "ohdeargodthatwassofuckingclose," but then the man's vest burst and this spray of tiny grey and white feathers spurted up. I remember the down floating around, puffing to and fro in the train fumes, and then, well, then there he was, down in the pit. He was like before, except rumpled, you might call it. Most of his head and shoulders were underneath the train, but his neck bone was kiltered to one side and exposed — I'd never thought about what color the inside of human bone was. Most horrid of all, of course, was his face, maybe because I didn't expect it. It had been pushed down onto his chest — I guess the front of his body had accordioned into itself, more or less, while the back lay where he'd positioned himself. So there his face lay, flat against his chest, eyes open with the sockets empty. The skin was dark with blood and decorated with a sprinkling of the down feathers that stuck to it here and there ... little spots of white fluff ...

I felt like I had to stand there looking at him, my feet stamped to the platform, or I might — I don't know — topple forward into the tracks or something. Everyone else scattered. It was like a stampede, started by one person with the others spooked into conformity. And then all there was was the muffled pandemonium from inside the train.

At some point someone — I believe a man who'd come down to investigate — pulled me back and aimed me at a bench. I sat there, quivering.

chinkigirl @ January 22 12:49 am

Please please tell us you are shitting us, fickel, and all this is an allusion to a Max Nosseck caper I'm not quite catching? Or are we group-writing our own noir again? Tell me that's it?

fickel @ January 22 12:51 am

Alas, fickel shits ye not, chinkigirl, and I'm definitely not launching one of our pulp fiction games. I should point out that the whole thing took place several hours ago. I waited around to give a statement to the police.

roadrage @ January 22 01:03 am

You have this experience and walk in your door and blog it — you are my BLOGODDESS.

36-D @ January 22 01:04 am

omg, so how horrible was it for you to talk about with the cops?

fickel @ January 22 01:05 am

Pretty effing horrible. I mean, blood and some amount of guts I can take in stride (I like to think), but the sight of a man's facial skin, fully intact like some rubber mask, pushed down off the front of his skull to lie against his exposed rib cage, is unlikely to leave my mind's eye for a long, long time, and attempting to act normal during my interview with the cop made it all the more ... gothic might be the word I'm hunting for. Train jumping — NOT recommended for those interested in emitting a "cry for help."

36-D @ January 22 01:11 am

{{{{{MAJOR Vicarious Shudder}}}}} Nightmares, anyone?

webmaggot @ January 22 01:13 am

Wait — using the T to KILL YOURSELF? I mean, I could see doing a swan in front of the Acela, but the BOSTON GREEN LINE? It's light rail. Guy must have been an optimist. @ January 22 01:14 am

Optimistic for someone whose outlook was so bleak that he decided to end his life. One of those fatalistic optimistic types.

chinkigirl @ January 22 01:15 am

Actually, it's people who stick a gun against their forehead who most often fail to die. Flinch at the last second and miss the frontal lobe, end up a paraplegic, but very much alive.

webmaggot @ January 22 01:16 am

Life sucks so much you want to die, then you wake up shitting into a ziplock with no way to kill yourself because you can't move your arms or legs. Bummer, mon.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 01:22 am

Serious question: u ok, fick?

fickel @ January 22 01:23 am

Serious answer: jury's out, but all I could think about walking home was the banter I could count on from my bloggies, so please do not get sanctimonious on my behalf. You know, it occurs to me that I now truly understand the meaning of the term "dumbstruck." It's like there's this aura of **stupid** around me that won't drift. Inside, maybe I'm a bit more, I don't know, waiting calmly for the signal to panic wildly, if that makes any sense? Of course, I'm also numb from having walked up the g.d. esplanade in the wind after giving my statement. There's this light hail blowing across the Charles — my face feels like I got a sandpaper facial. I'm actually sitting here in coat and gloves writing this. Maybe I just need to thaw.

hitman @ January 22 01:28 am

U 4 Real?

webmaggot @ January 22 01:29 am

So what was the guy like? Asian? I got it in my head somewhere that Asians are statistically the most likely to do a train dive. (No offense, chinkigirl, but check out Jisatsu Sakuru — kind of did it for you guys and train jumping — and-a one, and-a two, and-a ...) chinkigirl @ January 22 01:30 am That's Japanese. I'm the other type of slit-eye. Why would I be offended, anyway?

webmaggot @ January 22 01:31 am

Sore de wa minasan, sayonara.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 01:32 am

Hush, silly douche. So what was it like with the cops, fickel, luv? Are they all human fistfuks, or is it just vice?

fickel @ January 22 01:33 am

The cops were okay. Basically I spoke with a guy named Ty — a sergeant, I think. He wasn't wearing a uniform. He was, I want to say, 36? Meaty build — maybe burly is more what I mean. Rumbly voice, unadorned diction. And he was extremely patient, by which I mean he let a lot of silences go by between his questions and my answers. That probably sounds like very little but I appreciated it hugely.

36-D @ January 22 01:35 am

Wedding ring?

fickel @ January 22 01:36 am

On the cop? Umm, not that I chance to recall.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 01:37 am

4th finger crease from removed wedding ring as he trolls for female witnesses?

fickel @ January 22 01:38 am

Can't say I noticed that either, proudblack.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 01:39 am

I just ask because you make him sound so utterly dishy.

fickel @ January 22 01:40 am

I do? Well, well, maybe I do. Anyway, he just wanted me to go over the "sequence," as he put it. Guess I was the "star" witness, since the train conductor went into shock and had to be carried out on a stretcher — no surprise there.

roadrage @ January 22 01:42 am

Munchable female witness = lucky copper.

fickel @ January 22 01:44 am

I'm munchable? You can tell that from my blogging style?

roadrage @ January 22 01:45 am

Yer smokin', fickel — do not screw with my J.O. image of U.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 01:47 am

Of course she's hot. And she knew the cop was looking for some. But fickel's too classy a dame to offer her vag on the first suicide. Now nuff said about that.

webmaggot @ January 22 01:48 am

Hey, fickel, you ignored my question about the dead guy. Chinki?

fickel @ January 22 01:49 am

Sorry to blow your theory, webmaggot. He was white, probably American. Mid-40s is what I told the cop. Dark hair with a lot of silver threads, worn longish — he could have been an architect? Writer? One of those professions we all ogle in college but don't stick with. Carefully groomed 3day stubble, and for clothes, I'm going to say a black ribby sweater, long maroon scarf tied Euro-style, down vest, pricy boots — you get the picture.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 01:55 am

Woof! This is a man who KILLS HIMSELF?

fickel @ January 22 01:56 am

I have no idea how much of my description is accurate and how much is dead off — it was two seconds at best that I actually looked at him as he pushed by me on his way to ... you know.

hitman @ January 22 01:57 am


webmaggot @ January 22 01:59 am

The cop's name was Ty? That's probably short for Tyrone? Black dude?

fickel @ January 22 02:01 am

Hmm, you're rather "visual" tonight, webmaggot. The cop was white. The VERY white Detective Sgt. Tyler Malloy. Short red-blond hair. Intense face — close-set eyes, deep forehead lines, and a crooked bottom lip that he moved around in a way that suggested he had a toothpick in his mouth (which I don't think he did). Body muscle-y but not in a health club way, and generally big enough that his sleeves were always going to be a little short. Clothes: army-navy mac, nondescript suit, green shirt, yucky tie. Think Southie-kid-makes-good, Bean-town locals.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 02:02 am

Tyler? A cop is named Tyler? I'm roooooolling on the floooooooor!!!

fickel @ January 22 02:03 am

It wasn't like TV; I guess in real life people named Tyler go to cop school.

hitman @ January 22 02:06 am


fickel @ January 22 02:07 am

E-gad, hitman, before you scream me blind: YES, I AM FOR REAL! Not always — perhaps not even often — but, sad to say, I am very much "for real" at the moment.

webmaggot @ January 22 02:09 am

And it's book and film geeks, dood. We're into cheap downer pulp entertainment from the forties, in whatever form. S'called noir.

hitman @ January 22 02:10 am

No kidding pole-diver. So fickel, if you're for real, how can you type with gloves on?

fickel @ January 22 02:11 am

They're my fingerless gloves, which I often keep on while I'm online because my apartment's heat sucks; it's either hot as hell's kitchen or cold as a witch's clit.

36-D @ January 22 02:12 am

Fingerless gloves — you are SOOO Dickensian, fickel.

fickel @ January 22 02:13 am

Actually, I'm sooo Tolstoyan: So many men, so many minds, so many hearts, so many kinds of love ... But whatever.

proudblacktrannie @ January 22 02:17 am

U trollop, u! ;o

fickel @ January 22 02:18 am

Yes, but do you have to tell the world? G'night, blog.



chinkigirl @ January 22 06:09 am

Wake up, fickel. Something occurred to me last night (while I was getting laid by my honey — and I can't believe I just wrote that!) Anyway, you wrote that the suicide guy pushed by you, but the man you described would not shove by another person.

fickel @ January 22 06:11 am

You're right, early bird; he was definitely of the "civilized" variety, if you judge by looks. So?

chinkigirl @ January 22 06:12 am

Yet he pushed by you on a nearly empty platform ...

marleybones @ January 22 06:38 am

Hi, I'm on. And I'm with you, chinkigirl: he wanted fickel's attention. An audience. @ January 22 06:52 am

Morning, all. Of course, when you're taking that last walk off the edge of your life, so to speak, you're not thinking "What would Miss Manners do?"

marleybones @ January 22 07:23 am

I don't know. Manners become instinct by the time we're adults. I'm thinking the man bumped fickel to make sure she'd witness it.

fickel @ January 22 07:24 am

Maybe he wanted to get my attention so that I'd stop him.

chinkigirl @ January 22 07:31 am

That occurred to me.

36-D @ January 22 07:49 am

I am not one to analyze (not before I get my face on, anywaze), but am I sensing some element of BLAMING YOURSELF? A man committed suicide, fickel — that is not your responsibility.

fickel @ January 22 08:00 am

I just wish I'd been quicker on my feet. I can still see the way his scarf rose on the train's draft, hovered there between us, quivering in the air like it was groping for me, asking me to grab it. And his eyes, also, I can't say for certain but I think they were ... begging? You do hear about people who contemplate suicide for a long time, and then regret it only after they've swallowed the pills or stepped off the bridge.

roadrage @ January 22 08:02 am

As in Golden Gate. Seen that? Now there's some ballazz noir for you right there.

fickel @ January 22 08:12 am

Anyway, I simply stood there staring at him. I know that it was a couple of seconds and that it is completely understandable that I would freeze, but I just wish I hadn't.

hitman @ January 22 08:21 am

Hey, so aside from some metrosexual making steak tartare out of himself in front of you, what was so strange about your evening? Your post said "strange end to a strange evening."

fickel @ January 22 08:23 am

Well, well. For a guy just pausing to sneer as he passed through, you're back quick. But your question's fair enough. I went to a Stravinsky concert at the Berklee. Strange sound — prelude to a train wreck. Strange audience — lots of prematurely white-haired intellectuals in geometric glasses sipping stingers. Added up to a strange evening. Then I walked over to that retro music shop on Newbury and picked up a vinyl of the Le Sacre du Printemps. Also atypical for me but I thought that if I didn't do it then and there, the old-fashioned, over-the-counter way, the urge would fade fast and I'm trying to broaden my music taste (something to do at 25). Then I went to take the T over to Harvard Square to blog. Never quite got there.

roadrage @ January 22 08:24 am

You are sophisticated, in addition to having a stripper bod, fickel. God u make me HOT.

fickel @ January 22 08:25 am

Yes, well, lies are essential to humanity.

leo tolstoy @ January 22 08:33 am

For in the end what are we, who are convinced that suicide is obligatory and yet cannot resolve to commit it ...

fickel @ January 22 8:38 am

Well I suppose that's something to suck on for the day. Thanks, stranger. For now, however, work beckons (an' dat ain't no lie).



The Noir Boudoir of L.G. Fickel

January 22 @ 11:17 pm >ONE COP TWO COP RED COP BLUE COP

So last night, as you know, I witnessed a train suicide while standing around minding my own business at the Hynes T station. Being an exemplary citizen, I waited and gave a statement to the cops. (Okay, I went paralyzed, but by hook or by crook I became an exemplary citizen by giving a statement.) The cop I met, as I mentioned last night, was sympathetic, and not unbeddable in a burly-bear-ish way. TODAY, however, I was at work, trolling through the raw log on this site, when Sergeant Burly-Bear shows up.

Here's him: rumpled mac (mach-OH), blah-de-blah suit, pale shirt with his wife-beater T showing through (giggle, giggle), tie from the color-blind rack (ouch — man got no woman at home).

Here's me: fitted white blouse with cuffs rolled to just below the elbow, midnight-blue cashmere cardigan (worn on my shoulders, sleeves tied loosely in front), black pinstripe skirt from vintage shop, semi-opaque stockings, suede J & D flats — i.e., my usual editor couture. He catches me gazing into my screen, playing the edge of my oversized tortoiseshell glasses against my teeth as my jaw-length china chop tickles my chin where it curls under just so — i.e., my usual editor's pose. I wait a beat, then swivel my chair around slowly and find my gaze resting directly across on the front of his pants. Fun fact? You can tell a lot about a man in gabardines. I blink at his triomphemasculin, then raise my eyes to his face. His chin has a cleft that apparently presents some shaving difficulty.


Excerpted from "Fickle"
by .
Copyright © 2008 Peter Manus.
Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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