The landscape of contemporary Paris, the best restaurants, the trendiest bars and clubs, is usually filled with the wealthy, the famous, and le rake or le roué, the charming, educated sophisticate with little or no conscience. Into this cushy world bursts “Dr. Crandall Taylor” —or rather the actor who plays him — the star of a dated American soap opera that is now one of the hottest primetime shows in France. And this newfound fame, as enriching as it is unexpected, is not wasted on Crandall, eager to put his dark and often violent American past behind him and enjoy all the fruits —and the women —that Paris and fame have to offer him.
But TV fame isn’t enough. Randall wants a feature film. Every actor wants a feature film, and so Crandall uses his charm and intellect to draw into his narcissistic web four different women: an executive at the network that runs his show; an American porn star reaching new heights on the internet; a bookish university student with a slightly nasty bent; and the beautiful would-be actress wife of an arms dealer. Against his better judgment, Crandall accepts both the arms dealer’s cash and his beautiful wife’s advances. Soon, Crandall is on the run through the alleys and streets of Paris, trying not only to fund a film but simply to stay alive. But this is no ordinary chase —and Crandall is no ordinary mouse — and soon his penchant for violence, sex, and megalomania erupts into full blown war.
Rake is the latest noir classic from the author of The Ice Harvest. It features a charming, despicable anti-hero and a funny, satiric take on modern entertainment culture. Phillips turns his gimlet eye on the lush life of an actor who, on his destructive tour through Paris, crosses the line from garden variety narcissism into full-fledged psycopathy.
Praise for Rake
“With Rake, Scott Phillips proves himself the unparalleled master of the noir anti-hero. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know, his Crandall Taylor is the quintessential American huckster on the scene, and in Phillip’s sly, deft hands we find ourselves sinking down eagerly with him, glorying in the beautiful muck.” —Megan Abbott