RARA-AVIS: a couple of thank-yous

From: tomarmstrongmusic (tom@tomarmstrongmusic.com)
Date: 20 Aug 2009

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    Thanks to posters on this group, I recently finished books by Thomas Dewey and Don Winslow.

    I've read a few of Dewey's Mac books now. Of the ones I've read, "Sad Song Singing" was my favorite. Set in the collegiate boho coffeehouse folk music scene of the early 60s, very nice loss-of-innocence character development as a missing person case slowly reveals itself. A somber, melancholy book, very nice.

    As for Winslow, I've now read "California Fire And Life" and "The Power of the Dog". Both were terrific. My mind wants to nitpick at them for their flaws: too many standard thriller tropes, piled-on coincidences, sometimes stock characters, overly messy complexities that come to too-tidy ends, and he often goes WAY over the top (the Russian villain in the former is a veteran torturer from the war in Afghanistan, a KGB agent, AND a blood-oath mobster, AND an incest-created psycho, like any one of those wasn't enough??? - there are a lot of examples like that). But hell, my more visceral reaction was I just frickin' loved these books. If I am in the mood for more character veracity I'll go read Richard Price. If I want to raise my blood pressure and be totally sold on a wild violent ride, I'll read Winslow. Plus I like his overall theme in both books, crime and corruption linked, stretching from street-level petty to macro-disfunctional at the corporate, state, even international scale. Good stuff, I'm looking forward to reading more.

    Tom Armstrong

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