RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Karin Montin ( kmontin@sympatico.ca)
Date: 28 Dec 2005

This year I only got one crime novel for Christmas, Giles Blunt's Forty Words for Sorrow, which has been mentioned here once or twice. I've read one of his other books, The Delicate Storm. It was especially interesting to me because it takes place at the time of the great ice storm of 1998. I'm looking forward to this one.

For my birthday I got Sleepyhead, Mark Billingham's first. It's a serial killer story with a twist. I knew the killer wasn't the obvious suspect, but I was wrong about who it really was. Fortunately there are no chapters in italics, although the point of view shifts a few times. Billingham's got a good sense of humour and draws his cops as human beings with some significant failings.

I recently read The Wake-Up, by Robert Ferrigno, which I enjoyed. It is a tale of revenge (of a sort of white knight variety) and various crimes gone wrong in sunny California billed as "sunshine noir." There are some very interesting hitmen in this book, among other things. This is another writer with nice humorous touch.

Bob Cornwell has an interview with Ferrigno and commentary on several of his books here: http://www.twbooks.co.uk/crimescene/Ferrigno.html

I picked up Pass the Gravy by A. A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner) at a second-hand shop. I don't think I'd ever read a Cool and Lam before. I was disappointed that Cool doesn't do much except scold Lam. The detective story was pretty good though. I was thoroughly mixed up until it was all explained at the end.

This fall I got hold of You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up, by Richard Hallas. This book has been mentioned here a lot. I will simply join in the general praise and say that it didn't occur to me that this might be a parody until I read that somewhere.

I'm in the midst of Blonde Lightning by Terrill Lee Lankford, one of our writers in residence here. There are a couple of characters named Timlin and Thornburg. Tributes to fellow crime writers, or former students?


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