RARA-AVIS: Recently read - Boston - I

From: M Blumenthal ( blumenidiot@21stcentury.net)
Date: 09 Nov 2001

SPIRAL - Actually I read this six months ago, but it's the most recent Jeremiah Healy novel in his Cuddy series. It's a darkening of the series with Cuddy's girlfriend getting killed in an airplane crash at the beginning. of the book. I sort of liked Nancy Meagher. If only she had given her ticket to Susan Silverman! The bulk of the book takes place in Florida.

DIGGER'S GAME - This is the first George V Higgins' novel I have read. I shouldn't have waited this long. You can believe his characters are real people. Almost all the book is dialogue through which you get to know character. Sure, there are some paragraphs to further the plot or setting, but they are almost incidental.

FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE - This was Higgins first novel and of the three I read it is the best. The style is the same, but there is more attention paid to the plot and those who interact with the hoodlums that populate Higgins' books. I happened to turn on the tv after I finished this book, and by coincidence the movie version of this book starring Robert Mitchum was on. The movie was pretty faithful to the book and uses Boston settings.. In some ways Higgins is perfect for filming. The dialogue is still there, and the action because it is evident on the screen.

COGAN'S TRADE - Another Higgins book. I didn't like this as well as the other two, but it has its merits. It's similar but it seemed stretched to even reach 200 pages. I don't think there neeeded to be as much information on how to transport sixteen stolen dogs in a limousine from Boston to Florida where the dogs could be sold.
 . DARKNESS TAKE MY HAND - This is the second Patrick Kenzie - Angie Gennaro book by Dennis Lehane. I have a couple of quibbles. I don't know why Lehane doesn't refer to the newspapers as The Globe and The Herald. The other is that the man Patrick is following goes to Bryce College in Brookline. That's where I grew up. The streets and even the theater Patrick follows him into are authentic, but not only is no similar school in the town, there is no room in the town for a college.

  I also found a fairly major error. Towards the beginning Patrick and Angie meet with the local Mafia head whom Angie ascertains owes allegiance to the Patriso family. She then states she is the only granddaughter of the Patriso's don. This fact is repeated again in the book, but later on we learn Angie has a sister, Renee. I guess Lehane can later correct this by making Renee a half sister, but it's a flaw


It's as more a thriller than anything else in the style of having one surprise after another. I think the book would have been better by having only one serial killer . . Mark

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