RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 19 May 2001

Mark Timlin -- ROMEO'S TUNE

Anyone have a take on this guy? This is the first book of his I've read, and it seemed pretty ordinary to me. Down and out pi investigates corruption in the music business, gets in over his head, etc. Yeah, the setting's London instead of, say, LA, but the change of setting alone doesn't make this anything special. Of course, I have a tendency to pick the *worst* book from a series first, so if there are better Timlin's believe me, I'm all ears. I have PRETEND WE'RE DEAD sitting in my stacks somewhere.


I really like the Sam Durell books. Most of them are very effectively told adventure stories -- nothing fancy, but consistently engaging and craftsmanlike. Of the two, MADELEINE is the superior: it's set in Algeria during the war, and as usual Aarons has evocative descriptions. ANKARA is a bit too long, and Aarons tries to make a mystery of the bad guy, when it in fact is *screamingly obvious*, but there are some good sequences here, too. I think Aarons is underrated: he's well worth picking up.


Two Parkers. I'm not a huge fan of the series, but SOUR was quite fine: Parker gets double-crossed after a heist, gets back at the double-crossers. Lean and mean, with a few good twists and turns in the plot, and for once it was easy to root for the protagonist. DEADLY EDGE, though, shows up what I think is the main flaw of the series: basically, Parker's such a clockwork automaton, how do you care about him? Westlake tries to engage the reader by telling much of the story in another characters pov, but paradoxically this doesn't really work: yeah, Parker's hard to care about, but he's still the star of the show. I don't really want to enter anybody else's pov.


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

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