Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

Catalog » Browse by Title: P » The Painted Gun

The Painted Gun


A washed-up ex-journalist looking for a missing girl in San Francisco is framed by a Guatemalan hit man for a series of murders.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

A Finalist for the 2018 Shamus Award for Best Original Private Eye Paperback!

“[In] this tricky and delightfully surprising crime novel . . . Spinelli deftly segues from one genre to another—from hard-boiled noir to paranoid thriller, puzzle mystery (with each and every riddle logically explained), spy caper, and ultimately to something evocative of Bogart and Bacall. Spinelli is definitely a talent to watch.”
Publishers Weekly

“An unofficial San Francisco shamus whose tale is set in 1997 but whose heart is stuck in 1947 hunts for the world’s most elusive missing person . . . ‘I keep meeting people who wind up dead,’ aptly observes the narrator/hero . . . If you’d like more where that came from, Spinelli is your man.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Treasure the intriguing mystery and its haunting solution.”

“A classic noir . . . Spinelli manages to keep us on our toes.”
Pif Magazine

“A fantastic read, plenty of twists and turns . . . Highly recommended.”
Col’s Criminal Library

“A fun romp of an old-school detective novel with a few post-modern tweaks. It’s full of fist fights, shoot outs, and wise cracks, taking a few peculiar twists that prove many times to be poignant.”

“Rife with Bay Area action . . . A hard-boiled start with a couple of paragraphs about inhaling cigarette smoke. A nice run of puzzle mystery clewing. Kind of a little tour de force.”
Up and Down These Mean Streets

“One of the best aspects of The Painted Gun is its sense of place. The seedier sides of San Francisco are brought to life with all the expected characters . . . A wonderful diversion.”
Confessions of a Cyberlibrarian

“You can believe the man that wrote that read his Chandler and maybe his Macdonald as well.”
Mystery File

“An intriguing read.”
Life Within the Pages

“A neat little post-modern mash-up of Chandler and Hammett . . . [Spinelli’s] got wit and style up the wazoo.”
Thrilling Detective

“An intriguing read.”
Journey of a Bookseller

The Painted Gun is hardboiled like they don’t make anymore. Whiplash twists, razor-sharp prose, an addictive narrative—I couldn’t read it fast enough.”
—Rob Hart, author of South Village

“With a plot that winds up like a Swiss watch and then explodes like an RPG, Bradley Spinelli’s The Painted Gun pays off in every way a reader of noir fiction wants it to, and provides a lovely bonus—some of the most sure-footed tough-guy prose I’ve seen since Hammett and Chandler walked those mean streets. Spinelli’s novel pays homage to the conventions of detective fiction while also spinning an original and terrifying web of violence, menace, and intrigue. A bravura performance by a writer of marvelous gifts.”
—Sterling Watson, author of Suitcase City

The Painted Gun is a fun and wonderfully reckless remix. Bradley Spinelli spins the conventions of noir and whips up a tasty postmodern dish. It’s an homage to yesterday, and also an examination of what’s thrumming outside our walls right now.”
—Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life

“Spinelli gives us noir voices and atmosphere, a thrilling international plot, and—in the lovely, half-mad painter Ashley Fenn—a figure who embodies the seductive dangers of fine art. What more could you ask?”
—Richard Vine, author of SoHo Sins

Praise for Killing Williamsburg by Bradley Spinelli:

“Spinelli offers sharp and stylish prose . . . Benson’s nihilistic views may resonate with readers in their twenties facing an uncertain economic future.”
Publishers Weekly

“Spinelli has written the first visionary neo-Romantic novel of the twenty-first century.”
The Awl


It’s 1997 at the dawn of the digital age in San Francisco. Ex-journalist and struggling alcoholic David “Itchy” Crane’s fledgling “information consultancy” business is getting slowly buried by bad luck, bad decisions, and the growing presence of the Internet. Before he can completely self-destruct, a private investigator offers him fifty grand to find a missing girl named Ashley. Crane takes the job because the money’s right and because the only clue to her disappearance is a dead-on oil portrait of Crane himself—painted by the mysterious missing girl whom he has never met. As Crane’s search for Ashley becomes an obsession, he stumbles upon a series of murders for which he begins to fear he’s being framed . . .

With pitch-perfect dialogue, an exquisitely crafted plot, and a stylized, deadpan nod to classic hard-boiled writers like James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, and Dashiell Hammett, The Painted Gun introduces Bradley Spinelli as a force to be reckoned with in contemporary noir fiction.

Listen to an interview with Bradley Spinelli for Blog Talk Radio’s “Between the Lines with Susan Wingate.”

Read an interview with Bradley Spinelli on Deep Vellum Books blog.

Listen to an interview with Bradley Spinelli for the Make It Big podcast.

Read an interview with Bradley Spinelli on PaulSemel.com.

Included in Liberty Hardy’s New Books! Roundup for Book Riot.

Read a feature on Bradley Spinelli at the Brooklyn Paper.

Read a feature about the launch for The Painted Gun on Bedford + Bowery.

Read a guest post by Bradley Spinelli at Prose ‘n’ Cons.

Watch an interview with Bradley Spinelli over at BK Live.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Published: 3/7/17
  • IBSN: 9781617754982
  • e-IBSN: 9781617755057


BRADLEY SPINELLI is the author of the novel Killing Williamsburg, and the writer/director of the film #AnnieHall, which the Village Voice called “fascinating.” He contributes regularly to Bedford + Bowery and lives in Brooklyn. The Painted Gun is his latest novel. Visit his website at 13spinelli.com.

More info »