Sticking exclusively to books I read for the first time in 2008 (but weren't necessarily published in 2008).
THE LINCOLN LAWYER, Michael Connelly
ECHO PARK, Michael Connelly
THE OVERLOOK, Michael Connelly
Read in a row, something I rarely do with a single author. Connelly is a great, great storyteller, with a surehandedness at keeping the pace fast and the plots twisty and surprising. Indeed, his storytelling abilities are so good that, at first, he seems like a nuts and bolts writer, with very little actual style, but as you read you realize how good a writer, he actually is. It doesn't leap out at you, but his dialog, and his sentence construction is top-notch, but so understated it's almost subliminal.
THE OVERLOOK was particularly fast-paced, reminding me of a season of 24, perhaps because, like 24, it was originally published as a serial before appearing between hard covers.
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What is Connelly's thing about making the villain, when his/her identity is finally revealed, an FBI agent? I think that THE OVERLOOK is the third time he's used this device.
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WITH SIBERIA COMES A CHILL, Kirk Mitchell
WHITE RABBIT, David Daniel
THE ART OF DETECTION, Laurie R. King
Three books I read fairly closely together when I was writing an article about San Francisco-set police procedurals. SIBERIA and RABBIT are both historicals, the first set during the closing days of WW2, the second during the "Summer of Love" in 1967. DETECTION involves its heroine, Homicide Inspector Kate Martinelli (introduced in the Edgar-winning A GRAVE TALENT) with a group of Sherlockians when one of their number is murdered. The Macguffin is a previously undiscovered MS for a Holmes story that might actually be by Conan Doyle
HOMICIDE 69, Sam Reaves
A fairly long, but fast-moving procedural about a Chicago homicide cop investigating a mob mruder, along with several other unrelated cases, while worrying about his son, who's sweating out his tour of duty in 'Nam.
THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS, Olen Steinhauer
The first in an ambitious series that examines the history of an unnamed Iron Curtain country, from shortly after WW2 to the end of the Cold War, through the eyes of its cops and its spies. In this one, set during the Berlin Airlift, a rookie homicide detective is assigned to investigate the murder of his country's official song-writer, but soon uncovers a solution that embarasses the commie regime.
DEAD STREET, Mickey Spillane
Not his best, but far from his worst. Story of a retired cop cho discovers that his long-lost love, whom he believed dead, is still alive but suffering from amnesia. Somehwat reminiscent of one of the best Hammer novels, THE GIRL HUNTERS. For better or for worse, the hand of Max Allan Collins, who polished the not-quite-completed MS after Spillane's death, is evident.
THE FAITHFUL SPY, Alex Berenson
Edgar-winner in the first novel category. When the Cold War ended, a lot of people wondered if it meant the end of the spy story. This novel is proof that the War on Terror will provide plenty of grist for the mills of cloak-and-dagger writers. The hero is a CIA agent who's part Arab. Infiltrating a terrorist cell in Afghanistan, he's actually undergone a sincere conversion to Islam. Can a committed Muslim still be a patriotic American? His bosses aren't too sure.
DEATH IN THE STEEL CITY, Thomas Lipinski
Fourth and, thus far, last in Lipinski's series about Pittsburgh PI Carroll Dorsey, ex-cop and son of a crooked politico. A good example of this profesionally constructed series by PI Lipinski. Shamus-winner in the PBO category.
SHADOWS OF GLORY, Owen Parry
Second in a Parry's series of Civil War mysteries featuring Major Abel Jones, Union Army officer and special investigator for President Lincoln. In this one he's investigating rumors of Irish insurrectionists in upstate New York. Parry (actually retired US Army Col. Ralph Peters, who writes contemporary thrillers under his own name) is fine writer. Jones, a Welsh immigrant, narrates the novels and you can hear the cadences of Welsh speech as you read along, so evocative is the writing. Jones was introduced in the award-winning A FADED COAT OF BLUE, which I also recommend.
That's enough for now.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 05 Dec 2008 EST