RARA-AVIS: dead mothers

From: DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net
Date: 17 Mar 2008

Recently read two books whose main characters' lives are haunted by the deaths of their mothers when they were young. Other than that, though, they had little in common other than their high quality.

Bad Thoughts by Dave Zeltserman

Homicide Detective Billy Shannon is having increasingly bad nightmares approaching the anniversary of his mother's murder, which he witnessed as a teen. Both he and his wife fear the dreams are leading up to an annual blackout disappearance. But this year's nightmares are a bit different, more specific. Too specific. They lead him to dead women's bodies. And some, including Shannon himself, start to wonder who but the killer could know the things he does. I don't normally read supernatural horror thrillers (Sprockets, a Kathe Koja, a Jonathan Carroll that might qualify, have a few of KW Jeter's, but have only read some of his cyberpunk), so I was a bit wary of this book at first (the graveyard on the cover, but never in the book, didn't exactly reassure me). But Dave keeps the book anchored in the characters, so the supernatural overtones (are they actually supernatural or just particularly disturbing dreams and alcoholic blackouts?) never pulled me out of the story. Dark, nasty stuff, which is meant and should be taken as a high recommendation around here.

The Cold Spot by Tom Piccirilli

First paragraph:

"Chase was laughing with the others during the poker game when his grandfather threw down his cards, took a deep pull on his beer, and with no expression at all shot Walcroft in the head."

I was hooked. Thought I'd found a new Parkeresque series. I hadn't, it's not a caper book, but what I found was just as good. And I can think of very few compliments as high in my mind as "just as good as a Parker book." This book follows Chase, who was taken in (actually, kidnapped from foster care) by his career criminal grandfather, Jonah, after his mother's unsolved murder (which Chase did not witness). Chase was a getaway driver before he was even a teen (it's never said whether or not he had to sit on a phone book).

This book starts with Chase's split with Jonah, over the above shooting, and follows his life for almost a decade, first as a car booster and getaway driver, then as a square john for several of years before the inevitable tragedy happens (you know it has to, and the cover tells you more than I have, so I'm not really giving anything away).

A really great read. And a fair amount of comic relief (especially during his straight life) along the way. And a lot of drive (pun intended) that makes it very to put down.


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