June was a good reading month; not great. There are a couple of books I could have added but I didn’t feel quite made the cut, possibly because the three that did were so good. (Plus one non-fiction book that was one of the goofiest things I’ve ever read, where the author seems to seek out examples that weaken her hypothesis.) I know that’s not fair, but life is not fair, and I’m not running one of those blogs where everyone who tries out for the team gets a uniform.
Rogue Island, Bruce DeSilva. This rated its own post; more detail can be found here. Suffice to say DeSilva is the goods and I’ll be keeping up with him.
Killer’s Choice, Ed McBain. Amazon had a deal around Christmas time, twenty 87th Precinct novels for some stupid cheap number like 99 cents, so I bought all twenty of them to parcel out over a period of time. Killer’s Choice is from the late Fifties, and introduces Cotton Hawes, whom no one can stand going in. Carella is married, but he and Teddy have no kids. As usual, there is more than one crime to be solved, and, also as usual, there’s no weird twist. Just solid investigations of realistic events by people any of us might know, who happen to be cops. McBain was still using graphics of forms and paperwork as part of the story at this time. I’ve never read an 87th Precinct novel I couldn’t recommend, some more enthusiastically than others. This rates about a 6.5 on the ten-point McBain scale, which means it’s better than two-thirds of all the other books you’re likely to read this year. What’s amazing about McBain is how his voice and style remained consistent, yet evolved over time. Note: the opening, where McBain describes the struggles with his publisher over the directions the characters were to take, is hilarious.
Pronto, Elmore Leonard. Been meaning to re-read Pronto ever since Justified came on the air; finally got around to it. The hat is different, and the book’s Raylan is older and has two kids, but the attitude and tone will be familiar to fans of the show. Leonard goes on a bit much about Ezra Pound—unusual for him to violate his most famous dictum like that—but that’s a cold sore on Charlize Theron; the rest is a blast. Written in the early 90s when Leonard was at the peak of his power, I’d share a favorite line or scene, but there are too many. One of my favorite Leonards.