Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Principally, I went to get Megan Abbott's first two books. DIE A LITTLE and THE SONG IS YOU. Both books were present but I ended up with only DIE A LITTLE. I wanted both. Will probably regret not getting both. But there were other books to buy and I was keeping myself to a strict three book minimum. Megan has a third book coming in June called QUEENPIN. Awesome title. Noir and written by a female. Plus I am a sucker for cover art this.... lurid. Should be fun.
I ended up with Louis Bayard's, THE PALE BLUE EYE. I nearly didn't get this and it caused me to put down THE SONG IS YOU, but I'm fascinated by MR. TIMOTHY. I need to buy that book soon. THE PALE BLUE EYE is nominated for an Edgar. 1830s, Edgar Allan Poe, West Point. Sign me up.
Finally there was Brad Smith's BUSTED FLUSH. Released in 2005 this was the follow up to ALL HAT. I urge everyone to get ALL HAT. A great book. I searched in desperate vain to find this book in 2005. Glad I remember to look for it.
I could have spent another hour in the store. A great place to buy books. Clean, well organized, friendly staff, close to a donut place, and tons of books I would kill to own. I didn't go with much of plan other than to get the Megan Abbott books. Probably a good thing. I would have just been disappointed by what I could not buy.
And oh yeah I was in LA to go to the Academy Awards Ceremony. Sorry lads no Camera allowed.
Total cost: $77.89 (Airfare, new shirt, and tie not included)
Saturday, February 17, 2007
With the release of this book, THE DEAD YARD, and a third in the series called THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD on its way, my theory is holding less and less water. If the torch of young new talent is being passed from Dennis Lehane then it is sure being passed to Adrian McKinty.
DEAD I MAY WELL BE is the grand opera. THE DEAD YARD is the intimate chamber piece. DEAD I MAY WELL BE impresses quickly given the ground it covers. THE DEAD YARD is certainly less ambitious in terms of story, but no less significant it terms of packing a solid, bloody punch.
Our hero, Michael, is pressed into the service of British Intelligence lest he be sent back to his Mexican prison. The target is a small band of IRA fighters who refuse to submit to the recent cease fire agreement. Michael agrees to bring the group down if it means his freedom from the afore mentioned Mexican prison. Of course, it all goes to hell when he falls for a wee lass who is the daughter of his target.
Blood, literally drips from many of these pages. The end is violent, more violent than I have read in quite some time. Not for the squeamish, but this book sings an elegant blood song that is very hard to not replay in your mind again and again.
Stunner. BUY THIS AUTHOR NOW!
I am fascinated to see what he does with his young adult series.
But for me, Bob's books of late have had a distinct 'what have you done for me lately' feel. Now that sounds worse than I mean it too. If any other author had written DEMOLITION ANGEL or THE LAST DETECTIVE I would have been very impressed with the promise that the author showed. But Bob's promise was proven in books like VOODOO RIVER and SUNSET EXPRESS.
Now for the good....
In some books, not all, I will read a passage that will stop me dead in my tracks, and break me down. The author in a few short words will whisper a secret in my ear that reveals a truth about the characters of their story that ultimately applies to my life. These moments are magic. Near the end of THE TWO MINUTE RULE, Bob wrote one of those moments... and he was home.
Max Holman is an ex-con bank robber, and on the eve of his release from prison his Cop son is murdered. Max has served time for his crime, but what ultimately drives him is his true debt to the wife and son he left to fend for themselves. Max is a 'bad' guy who is trying to become a good man. It will be his salvation even if it is the last thing he does.
Along for this journey is former FBI agent, Katherine Pollard. Tough and vulnerable. Sweet and bitter. Katherine is a great character. Did I mention she was the agent who arrested Max? I would love to see both these characters continue.
As a setting Crais employs L.A. to a much different effect. The Los Angeles of Michael Connelly has a mystical quality where naive illusions can still be fostered. Crais's LA is not like that. Crais's Los Angeles is much tougher, crueler place.
The meek should not enter.
Friday, February 16, 2007
THE LAST COYOTE is the great book of this series. A huge book. I still have distinct memories of reading it. In terms of quality only THE POET achieves the kind of greatness that THE LAST COYOTE does. I can think of few one-two punches in crime fiction like THE CONCRETE BLOND and THE LAST COYOTE. And with the non-series THE POET following COYOTE, these three books make quite the trifecta.
That is not to say that the rest of Connelly's output is mediocre. Far from it. Only that because he has written at such a high level for so long I have occasionally taken him for granted. Tsk, tsk for sure. Let me say that when I recommend authors to friends, family, random stalkers.... Michael's name is the first to come out of my mouth. Ok, sometimes Dennis Lehane sneaks out there, but fully 80% of the time Micheal is at the top.
So ECHO PARK.
For comparative purposes this is his best Bosch, his best book since ANGELS FLIGHT. In the last few Bosch books, Connelly has really pushed Harry's struggle with his inner demons to the fore. And while this has made for some really wonderful writing, this is not the Bosch/Connelly I know. I can understand Connelly's interest in exploring this angle as way to keep the character fresh, but I resist change.
The book follows Harry Bosch as he endeavors to close a case that has long haunted him. The crime is seemingly solved in the opening chapters, but this is far from the end. ECHO PARK is to my mind a return to form for Connelly and the Bosch character. Gone, for the most part, are the internal demons that have bedeviled Bosch. Absolutely, he is still conflicted, but these elements are approached much more subtly. At this point we know Harry so well that we don't need to be told that the moral gray areas where he primarily exists wear on him heavily.
Straight forward and damn the consequences is how Harry acts because long experience has taught him that it gets him the best results. Don't we all wish we could act this way? Minus the body count.....
Bosch has never had a partner in the strictest sense. The character's of Kiz Rider and Jerry Edgar have filled this role in several books, but neither is truly his partner. Bosch is too much of a lone wolf..... or coyote. No, his really partner is the guiled and gutted Los Angeles. No one rivals Connelly for his sheer descriptive power, he is the James Lee Burke of L.A. Lovely stuff that draws and repeals the reader to this land of illusions.
Echo Park really took me back to the early years of Connelly's writing. It acts as a wonderful bit of nostalgia and proves that Connelly can write this stuff in his sleep. Tough and haunting stuff.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Well this is just disaster. Two weeks and nothing new to be found here.
Reason? Laziness is usually suspect number one. Suspect number two is my somewhat impending travel plans to Los Angeles next week and my more ambitious plan to travel to Pune, India.
LA is for a bit of fluff know as the Academy Awards. A friend of mine knows people and he can get me in to the show. Looks like I can see Scorsese finally get his Oscar. Ennio Morricone will also be getting an Honorary Oscar. Super-duper. At least one guaranteed amazing moment.
India? Pune? A conference. Not worth talking about right now. I’m told there is a flight out of JFK to Mumbai(Bombay) that takes 15 hours! Just thinking about that makes me hallucinate strange colors.I've finished reading the Crais and Connelly books. Mini-reviews this weekend by which time I should be done with The Dead Yard by Adrian McKintry. Adrian, if you are out there .... Do you have a website?
Thursday, February 01, 2007
I started with Confessions of and Idiosyncratic Mind because it was the one blog that I checked daily for crime fiction news. I knew of the existence of The Rap Sheet, but until recently I was an infrequent visitor.
I might be added a few other blog links to the side panel soon. My recent purchases of Sean Chercover's and Marcus Sakey's books have steered me over to a blog, The Outfit, where they are frequent contributors. Maybe a few other author links. Connelly, Crais, etc. Who knows the possibilities are total endless.... cue inspiring music.... like that Walking on Sunshine Song.