From brilliantly funny and darkly surreal pastiche, to poignantly evoked small-town lives, the stories in Ethan Coen's outstanding debut collection are instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the award-winning Coen Brothers' films. Yet at the same time they belong in the great tradition of American fiction writing. Peopled with mobsters and hicks, and peppered with sparkling dialogue, some are delicious send-ups of genre classics by authors such as Chandler and Hammett, while others are miniatures of private desperation drawn with a humour and tenderness which places them alongside the best work of Raymond Carver. Their great achievement, however, is that they are unmistakably the work of Ethan Coen, each one meticulously crafted, exhilaratingly imaginative, breathtakingly daring and hilariously funny. Ethan Coen's first venture into writing fiction is a triumph which will be welcomed as much by lovers of great fiction as by the Coen Brothers' legions of fans.