Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Recommended Reads, November - December

First, the news: Omni Mystery has been kind enough to run me through a fairly intensive interview about Grind Joint and writing in general. It’s a great site, well worth poking around on. Or in. Whichever term is appropriate for a web site.

Now to our regularly scheduled programming.

What’s that? Narcissistic references to my own handiwork are the regular programming of late? Okay, you got me. Way the hell back on October 3 I promised to keep up better with recommended reads, and since then the lion’s share of the recommended reading has been Grind Joint. (Except for when I came up for air and pimped A Small Sacrifice.) It’s time I made amends. (Order of appearance is the order in which the books were read.)

The Walkaway, Scott Phillips. I’ve already had a lot to say about The Walkaway. A wonderful book, maybe my favorite of Phillips’s oeuvre, which is saying a lot.

The Onion Field, Joseph Wambaugh. His first non-fiction, and possibly the best non-fiction crime book I have ever read, including In Cold Blood back when I thought everything in it was true, too. This is the intensely personal story of two cops who happen into the wrong place at the worst possible time in an era when cops in the street lacked the support systems they have now, both on the job and off-duty. A brilliant, painful, riveting, and exhausting book.

Black Rock, John McFetridge. I scored a pre-release copy of this one; now I understand how psychics feel, knowing what people are going to do before they know themselves. Here’s your future: you’re going to love this book. A departure from McFetridge’s previous Toronto series, with passing similarities to Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series in the historical placement and setting the crime against larger social events, with all of McFetridge’s trademark touches. Keep your eyes open for this one.

Road Kill, Zoe Sharp. I don’t read thrillers much, and I don’t read as many female writers as I might. (There will be a more detailed discussion of this in a few weeks.) Charlie Fox is a badass; not Wonder Woman. She uses her wits as much as her physical skills to know when to call for help, and to do her best to stay out of situations where help may be needed. Sharp also keeps the stakes high, but personal, a far more effective technique than worrying about the Fate of All Human Kind. This shit feels real.

Ratlines, Stuart Neville. A fantastic book, explored in detail here.

Never Call Retreat, Bruce Catton. Volume Three of Catton’s Civil War historical trilogy maintains the level of excellence of the first two. A lot of books have been written about the battles of the Civil, as if the armies stood around for weeks or months, then randomly decided to fight. Catton ties together the military, political, and social considerations in a series that brings as much sense as can be derived from such a universal cluster fuck. Released in 1965, looking back 100 years, some of the parallels to what’s going on today are eerie.

Vespers, Ed McBain. Nothing special by McBain’s standards, which makes it better than 90% of what’s out there. (More on McBain here.)

Remember, anyone who sends an email to danakingcrime (at) gmail (dot) com may request a free e-book of their choice, so long as it’s one I wrote. I’m not giving away other people’s stuff.

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