A film editor takes a job in Italy only to find that half of the gig is cutting film, while the other half is moving uncut dope Freelance film editor Tracy Bateman has hit a string of bad luck. His country home is crumbling, his marriage is floundering, and his beloved dog just died. But things begin looking up for Tracy when a film producer and old friend, Kevin Carter, offers him a truckload of money to help with a job in Italy. Despite his suspicions over the job’s legitimacy and doubts about Kevin’s trustworthiness, Bateman accepts. But when he gets to Italy, things quickly spin out of control. Bateman has been maneuvered into a deadly plot involving his ex, a few suitcases of heroin, and some of the sleaziest members of Europe’s underworld. Straight Cut is one of Bell’s purest thrillers, and a wild, hard-boiled romp through the bars and backrooms of 1980s Europe. “As powerful as a crisp kick to the solar plexus . . . fiercely brilliant.” —San Francisco Chronicle “A real thriller . . . not only high entertainment, but high pleasure to read.” —Walker Percy, author of The Moviegoer “A winning novel . . . spare and cinematic.” —Time Madison Smartt Bell (b. 1957) is a critically acclaimed novelist. Over the last two decades he has produced more than a dozen novels and story collections, as well as numerous essays and reviews. His books have been finalists for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award among other honors. Born and raised outside of Nashville, Bell’s fiction is often set in the South, or in New York where he lived as a young writer. Bell and his wife, poet Elizabeth Spires, currently live in Baltimore, Maryland, where they are the codirectors of the writing program at Goucher College.