Saturday, October 9, 2010

September’s Best Reads

Damn, I'm late this month. Busy time at work, as a software upgrade at [government agency name redacted] coincided with the end of the government fiscal year, and was a cluster fuck (official techno-governmental term) from the get-go to boot. This kind of slovenly site maintenance probably accounts for precipitous decline in my followers. I'll try to do better.

The Rare Coin Score, Richard Stark. Why does it always take me so long to "discover" what everyone else has known for years? This is my first Stark/Parker novel, and all I can do is slap my forehead for not starting sooner. I don't know where this one ranks in Stark's oeuvre, but it was damn good. If you've never read any of these, don't repeat my mistake any longer than you have to. If you have read one, I'm sure you're read more.

Bad Luck and Trouble, Lee Child. You know it's mind candy and will rot your hypothalamus is you read too much of it, but it's really good mind candy. Not the best Child I've read (The Hard Way or Killing Floor) but still a lot of fun watching him get the band back together, and for the insights into how Reacher's mind works.

Romance, Ed McBain. I sure loves me some Ed McBain. Not the best 87th Precinct novel by a long shot, still better than 90% of what's been written. He invented the genre, and we're still waiting for someone to do it as well. There are lots of good procedurals available now (see below), but no one has ever equaled McBain's chops for how the story is told, and the little asides his narrator dropped in.

Every Bitter Thing, Leighton Gage. Another procedural, this one set in Brazil. He's not McBain (no one is), but his Mario Silva series can be mentioned in the same breath as the 8-7 without embarrassing Gage. (High praise, considering how I feel about McBain.) His cops have actual interpersonal relationships you can see and understand, and his use of the Brazilian Federal Police is inspired, keeping things fresh (Americans don't do things this way), giving his cops access to the best information and techniques available (they're feds, after all), but not having to go through all the convolutions American writers have to in order to justify the FBI's involvement in cases they'd never touch for real. I'll be looking for more of Mr. Gage.


Leighton Gage said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about my latest, "Every Bitter Thing".
I'm gratified that you found it worth reading.
Could be that your readers might like to check out the blog I do with five other authors of "international" crime novels.
They'll find it here:
Murder Is Everywhere
We don't write about our books, or the craft of writing, but rather about human-interest aspects of the countries in which we set our books.

Dana King said...

Anyone with an interest in internationally based crime fiction and its authors would do well to check out the blog og Gage, et cl. Well worth the read.