I asked the group for recommendations on MacDonald and Block novels, and I thought I'd chime in on the results so far.
I ignored much sound advice, sadly, and chose the atypical THE GREEN RIPPER for the book group. As much as I loved MacDonald's style, though it could turn precious, the story sagged as it took on its vengeance aspect. You could just feel that it wasn't the author's strength. There was something too heated about the subject to suit the cool style. But I do want to read more, something more typical.
I also swerved a little in my Block selection. Everyone agreed 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE was a great choice (and I hear the movie, unavailable on DVD, is superb), but I went with WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES, for the most superficial reason: I liked the title (didn't know at the time it came from a Dave Von Ronk song). I'm only about 20 pages in but I'm loving it. I feel like a bit of an idiot for not picking him up sooner.
Which leads me to say I agree with those who have championed McBain's writing. I feel the same -- it's clean and hard as a diamond drill, witty and observant, still fresh after half a century
Has anyone read Desmond Lowden? I just acquired a copy of his BELLMAN & TRUE, which was made into one of my favorite movies, crime or otherwise. (I'm a sucker for British bank job capers.) I've just started it as well but I got a chill as I began, loving the elegant simplicity of the prose. ("The boy followed. He was small, the back of his head was soft and rounded. But his face was pale, sharply pointed with the effort of being eleven years old.")
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