RARA-AVIS: Eighth Circle

From: Mark Sullivan ( DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net)
Date: 28 Apr 2000

I've had The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin on my shelves for almost two decades. I'm not sure why I never got around to reading it. It had come highly recommended at the time I bought it and I had seen other praise for it in the intervening years. I'm also not quite sure why I finally picked it up and read it, but I'm sure glad I did.

This is a masterful book. There is a nice plot, but it is the characterization that makes it so distinctive. The characters are are developed well beyond the strict needs of pushing the plot forward. They have backstories and lives outside of the PI agency where they work
(the agency is also nicely filled out, with day-to-day business beyond the job at the core of the book). As a matter of fact, characters are so well-drawn that in those couple of instances where plot-point becomes somewhat obvious, when you see more than the detective does, it is also obvious why the detective is blind to it. As a matter of fact, the book is as much about the how and why of Murray Kirk's blinders as it is about the case at hand. Highly recommended.

So, what else did Stanley Ellin write? Is it as good as this one?


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