RARA-AVIS: Book recommendations

Martha Pennigar (msmartha@earthlink.net)
Sun, 28 Nov 1999 12:00:32 -0500

Someone asked for suggestions for recent hard-boiled fiction. I would recommend The Narrowback, by Michael Ledwidge, published earlier this year. The jacket blurb says it takes the reader "through the mean streets of New York", which indeed it does. The story is about Tom Farrell, an Irish-American 'Narrowback' from a poor Bronx neighborhood. Newly released from jail, he decides to rob the glitzy NY hotel where he works and recruits a gang of partners from his days of selling black-market guns. The robbery goes fast and easy but the getaway quickly falls apart through a combination of greed and arrogance, leaving Tom on his own. With the Bronx chapter of the IRA and a foreign mob after him, Tom spends most of the book trying to get out of NY alive. My take on this book is that it follows a very classic hard-boiled plot line, that of a crime caper and its fallout, and comes off as both timeless and contemporary. The writing is good, tough and unsentimental.

Someone else asked if there were such a thing as country noir. I can't answer that question, but I can recommend three writers with books set in rural places. One is Tom Franklin. His book Poachers is a collection of one novella and several short stories. The novella, Poachers, is as hard and mean a story as any I've read recently. The second writer, Matthew F. Jones, has a new book out called Deepwater. It's initial set-up is akin to The Postman Always Rings Twice, but with a different aim in mind. He also wrote a book called A Single Shot, which is about the consequences of a random act on a man's life and how he compounds those consequences through his character and motives. A very small and intense book. The third writer is William Hoffman, who wrote Tidewater Blood. It's about the black-sheep son if a wealthy family who has to prove himself innocent of their murder. A spare, unsettling whodunnit with intriguing and haunting 'country' settings which also serve as thematic and symbolic elements to the story.


# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sun 28 Nov 1999 - 12:03:58 EST