I don’t think of myself as much of a crime fiction fan, but I did read Manchette’s Three to Kill years ago. I have also been reading a lot of comics by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and their work on Criminal is reminiscent of Manchette’s novels.
In The Prone Gunman we follow hitman/assassin Martin Terrier as he tries to get out of the business. Predictably his old associates have different ideas and there’s considerable mayhem and bloodshed as Terrier’s situation goes from bad to worse (and worse and worse).
There’s not a lot of emotional depth in the characters, though I did enjoy Terrier’s long lost love who runs away with him and then seems to lose interest in him immediately. The book also has what felt like a pretty abrupt tone shift near the end where I felt it went from mostly straightforward and matter-of-fact to increasingly ironic and absurd. That made me wonder if I’d missed some of that irony all along, perhaps hinted at by the title.