Sunday 8 December 2013



Las Vegas in the 60s.

Mark Paris is pretty much an ex. Ex-boxer, ex-soldier, ex-mathematician, ex-husband. Now he passes the time winning small in casinos and offering assistance to people who can't find it anywhere else. He calls himself The Professor, much to the amusement of local criminals and barmen, and the contempt of the police.

An early phone-call from an acquaintance brings him his latest job, cleaning up after a sudden death, and at much the same time he's invited to help an elegant businesswoman with big trouble on her hands.

Can The Professor work out the right directions to head in, before his past catches up with him, or 
the people who wish him ill manage to cut his equation off permanently?

Prior to a recent post of Paul D Brazil regarding this book by the author, Andrew Peters I had been unaware of either. Intrigued by Brazil’s praise for both, I contacted Mr Peters and he obligingly sent me a copy of his latest offering Subtraction.

Well how did we get on? I enjoyed it and found it well-written with an easy style of narrative that kept me turning the pages. Our main character, Mark Paris AKA The Professor was likeable and believable and his back story portrayed him as a sympathetic character to this reader at least.

Paris is a part-time gambler and small-time fixer in sixties Las Vegas.  An associate calls him for help after 
waking up next to a dead hooker and Paris obliges, though it is obvious that all he’s done is bought his friend some time. Blackmail and an escalation are around the corner.

Next to come calling on the Professor is the sister-in-law of his girlfriend. She’s a Vegas madam whose string of girls are being targeted for attack by a couple of vicious thugs. Paris agrees to look into the matter and soon his involvement in both cases has him in jeopardy.  Our Prof has to manage the attentions of the LVPD as well as a psychopath before he fully understands his involvement. Regrettably for Paris, he has to turn back to his estranged family to help him fix the mess.

Overall Subtraction was an interesting book with a satisfying resolution. Peters sucked me into 60’s Vegas. 
His depiction of the bars and restaurants, cabaret acts and casinos was the second best thing about the book, after the Professor himself.   

I possibly didn't enjoy it quite as much as Paul, but it was off-beat and quirky enough for me to want to read more from Peters at a later date.

4 from 5

Thanks to Andrew Peters for my copy.   


  1. This one sounds interesting. Off-beat and quirky are my buzz words.

    I'm reading Chester Himes right now or at least hope to finish one since that's what I'm in the mood for right now. Huge fan of his work. Just think Hammett for writing style set in 1960's Harlem. Coming down to the wire now (end of the year).. Trying to decide what do I want to read in the next few weeks before I wrap it all up for the year. I realize this is a first world problem but you know what I mean....

    1. Hey Keishon - it was a bit unusual, which works for me.

      I haven't read much Himes ever. One I believe, the title of which escapes me. There's a few books on the pile as well as a biography of him by James Sallis.
      I envy you - because I can't see myself getting to them anytime soon! Hvae fun...

    2. I must learn to type........have fun! NOT hvae....

  2. I quite like the sound of this one - but there's so much on the pile that I can't add another, even if it has a great-sounding Vegas setting.

    1. Moira, you're not joining me in an imaginary embargo are you?

  3. Col, it's nice to see writers invent troubleshooters, as I'd like to call them, as opposed to the conventional detectives and investigators who are used to reading about. I guess you don't have to be a traditional sleuth in order to help someone's case.

    1. Agreed, some Pi's Cops can appear a bit formulaic sometimes. This one was done well.

  4. 60's Vegas does sound interesting. If I can find this book at a book sale, I will definitely give it a try.

    1. Tracy, I will try and see if I can get your book pile as tall as mine! My mission for 2014!