RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Jan 2001

I unhesitatingly recommend Loren Estleman's ANY MAN'S DEATH, part of a (short-lived?) series about a professional killer named Macklin. The plot is not particularly original -- members of the Detroit Mob get involved in a power play when the prospect of legalized gambling is raised -- but it's told very well, in a very bouncy, surefooted style. The changing pov's keep it all moving, and the book moves to a nicely grim, even somewhat surprisingly ending. I much prefer this to the workmanlike, but in my opinion rather dull Amos Walker books.

͠just finished Dennis Lehane's DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND. Lehane puzzles me. He's a very gifted author: his female pi is one of the few convincing ones I've read, his characterizations are solid, he has a nice sense of place, he seems to have a very grim, authentically hardboiled take on life, and he handles action scenes/violent scenes very well. (I even like Lehane's take on the by-now cliched character "the detective's psycho helper". Bubba seems to me to be more of a real person than others I've read.)

But the same problem that dogged the other Lehane I've read, GONE,BABY,GONE dog this one. Basically, they both read to me like a cross between a good hardboiled story and a crappy mainstream thriller. DARKNESS (like GONE) is too long, with too many dumb subplots, and with a climax that gets dopier and dopier as it goes on. Both novels read like they've been spun out longer than they should've been, or like they've been written with one eye to the movies.

I'd like to see Lehane try a full-on hardboiled tale sometime. But he's worth a look.


===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Jan 2001 EST