Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Choice of Nightmares

Every so often I’ll decide I have enough authors to read. Keeping up with their output is a full-time job, and I’m tired of feeling like I’m behind as I try to stay current with all the excellent writers out there. Not that I mean to limit myself, but I’ll never have time to read everything written by those I like best; why fall farther behind?

Right about then I’ll start tripping over references to someone I never heard of before. Comments from people whose opinions I trust. “You really ought to read this guy.” “This guy’s really good.” “You’d like him a lot.” (“Guy” is gender-neutral in this context.) I won’t do anything about it, mainly because I always have several books backed up, and don’t feel like adding one more.

Then somebody will catch me between books, wondering who to read next, and I’m on the Web already, anyhow, and Amazon’s just one click away so I take thirty seconds and buy Lynn Kostoff’s A Choice of Nightmares and it sits on the Kindle for a while till I read it because I got tired of looking at the title staring back at me and I remember how good people said he is and I read the damn book, okay, enough, now can I get on with my life, and then I start kicking myself because this book is really good and I’m wondering what the hell took me so long and how the book would make a great movie but is also a good character study of a man who, basically, lacks character and will pretty much follow his dick whichever way the wind blows.

Bad things happen to people like that. Boy, howdy, do they.

How bad? Don’t be cheap. Read the book. Kostofff writes believable characters, and, even though you don’t really like Robert Staples much, he doesn’t deserve what he’s headed for. The cast that leads Staples astray plays both sides of his personality, leveraging fear and desire to lead him down a path he knows better than to take. The plot points are unpredictable and plausible. As a writer, Kostoff is content to lay back and let his characters do the talking; the author’s hand is not noticeable.

I’ve heard great things about his newest, Late Rain. I guess now I’ll just have to add him to the list of writers who periodically lead me to decide I don’t need to look for new things to read, at least not as long as I’m still behind on him.

1 comment:

lynn kostoff said...


Thanks so much for the read and kind words. Hope the panel at Bouchercon goes well. best, Lynn Kostoff