Re: RARA-AVIS: recent reads

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 25 Feb 2008

My reading over the last several weeks has included some very popular genre material, probably well known to most on the list, as well as a few related things. I've just started "Fright".

"The Two-Minute Rule" by Robert Crais - the best, I think, of the 4 or 5 Crais novels I've read. I really liked the beginning of the book, with the protagonist getting out of jail only to find out that his estranged son has just been killed. The situation is presented fairly realistically. Eventually the story turns into a pretty conventional crime story, entertaining enough.

"The Fallen" by T. Jefferson Parker - the first thing I've read by this popular writer. Entertaining and I think intelligent. The protagonist's "synesthesia" is an odd gimmick. I'll probably try more of Parker's stuff.

"The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner. A classic, of course, somewhat difficult but worth it. Certainly dark enough for noir, though it probably belongs in a different genre.

"Ways of Escape" - Graham Greene. Memoir based on introductions written to a collected edition of his novels as well as journal entries and other material. Uneven but frequently fascinating. I've been reading Greene's novels and this is great background as well.

"Secret Prey" by John Sandford. I've read several in this long, successful series; this is the best I've encountered. I think I actually enjoyed it more than the Crais or the Parker.

"One Last Breath" by Stephen Booth. 5th in a series of British regional police procedurals, set in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England. There are some noirish elements, unhappy disturbed people trapped by circumstances driven to crime, etc. I liked the odd little group of male characters at the centre of the story. Booth's books tend to be fairly slow moving and have some one-dimensional secondary characters, but I find them quite easy to get into.

"The Museum of Dr. Moses" by Joyce Carol Oates. Recent "mystery and suspense" stories, most of them dark and very well written. There is an excellent long boxing story.

"Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" by Patrick McGilligan" - long, interesting and seemingly judicious; better, I think, than the other Hitchcock bio I've read, "The Dark Side of Genius" by Donald Spoto.


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