I looked up from closing the cover on another great book and it was February. That means I read three books in January, quite a pace for me. All good ones too. In my effort to try to find more things to blog about this year I figure what I read is a good place to start. So the first in my monthly roundup includes:
Lucky At Cards by Lawrence Block
Off the top of my daunting pile of Hard Case crime titles (only 31 to go. I think I was the only person excited about them slowing their output to once every other month) What can you say about Lawrence Block? I actually know way too little about his work but he is synonymous with great crime stories. This one did not disappoint. 40 years old without a whiff of staleness. Great pulpy fun all around.
Stone Quarry by SJ Rozan
The Pistol Poets by Victor Gischler
Gischler has to be one of the flat-out most entertaining crime writers going. This one, like Gun Monkeys before it, is just mad. It goes in every crazy direction at once, soaked in blood and a twisted sense of humor that makes me feel better about myself. I feel sorry for whoever has to do the back cover summaries on a Gischler novel. How do you sum it all up in so few words?
All in all a great month of reading.
I had one abandoned book, Missy by Chris Hannan. I started it in Dec. but never got back to it. I was really excited for this one so it was a let down when I just balked at the style and language. It is set in the 1800s so the narrator talks in a kind of proto-Deadwood period speak that, while sometimes very evocative and gorgeous, really took me out of the story. I found it too much of an affectation and I kept focusing on the words and the unique turns of phrase instead of the story. It also took too long to get going. It made me realize an interesting thing: if your plot summary and the hook you use to sell a book doesn't happen until 150 pages in, maybe the top needs tightening. Just maybe.
I want to know if anyone else has been distracted by the writing style, even if you love it. Seriously, Missy has some great writing in it, I just found it too "written", y'know?
This happen to anyone else?
Up next is a double feature of Richard Powell pulp classics in one volume. I loved Say it with Bullets so I am looking forward to more from this forgotten pulp writer. After that I have so many choices and a wish list that is growing...time to take a speed reading class.