RARA-AVIS: Oblivion, by Peter Abrahams

From: Steve Lichtman ( redgrimes@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 12 Jun 2005

Has anybody read this? It's getting some major write-ups (from The New Yorker, Salon, etc.).
  Here's how the Salon review begins:
"Back in the day, the best hard-boiled detective fiction provided readers with state-of-the-art prose style as well as cheap thrills. But as decades went by, the style of Chandler and Hammett hardened even further and became a cliché® Recent incarnations of the noir voice (James Ellroy, for one) seem compulsive and symptomatic rather than fluid, like a Touretter mimicking a prizefighter's moves.

"Peter Abraham's latest crime novel -- praised by Joyce Carol Oates in the pages of the New Yorker, no less -- points the way out of this hall of mirrors. "Oblivion" is written lean and sleek and undentable as titanium, but the experience it describes is anything but rock solid. Nick Petrov, a tough, Russian-born detective (son of a form KGB agent) is so good he's been played in a TV movie by Armand Assante. The film dramatized his most famous case, in which Petrov nabbed a serial killer. This is a man who knows what he's doing -- until he feels a "penny-sized" headache right behind his right eyebrow and suddenly finds himself talking nonsense about Babar."


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