Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another one down

I've been reading a lot so far this year. One airplane trip and I'm well ahead of my reading goals so far. But today I'm here to add to my contributions to the Criminal Plots reading challenge. This time out I tackled the 'Book that has been turned into a movie'. It came easily as my choice, The Ice Harvest, was one I was planning on reading anyway.

I've heard a lot about Scott Phillips and, as it turns out, we now share an agent so I was eager to read his work. I saw the movie when it came out a few years ago and I liked it quite a bit. One of those tiny crime films that doesn't try too hard to be a son of Tarantino or an homage to Film Noir. Just a solid cast in a dirty story about a really bad (Christmas Eve) night.

Now, I'm not one of those types to go on about how the movie is never as good as the book blah, blah, blah. Having written for both and with movies really being my first love I think they are apples and oranges and should be evaluated as such. Like the book? Great. Don't judge the movie by the book. Different animal. It's like saying you like dogs if you own a Great Dane but then when someone gives you a Chihuahua you complain that it just isn't the same. No. It's not. Dogs, yes. But different things entirely.

That said, I enjoyed the book greatly, despite and in some cases, because of the differences. And it didn't detract from my liking of the film either. The Ice Harvest is a quick read but due to my normal lunch-hour-only habits it took me a week, but this would be a great all-in-one read. It was a slow build. An interesting one, but slowish in a good way that adds to the overall pace. The writing style is great though. No fancy flourishes, just straightforward prose and believable action. Nothing is out of place in this book.

Of course, having seen the film first, I couldn't get the image of John Cusack out of my head for the lead character but it didn't detract too much. I like Cusack so that helped. All in all The Ice Harvest would be one I definitely recommend to anyone who likes a tidy noir tale with sharp characters and some unexpected twists. My greatest endorsement? I went out yesterday and bought another Scott Phillips novel.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I have been wanting to read this, or at least see the movie. Not sure which will come first, but your review def keeps it on my radar.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Yep, it's a cracking book. I recently finished Rut,which is also great.