Thursday, August 4, 2016

July's Best Reads

July was a bit of an odd reading month, with half of it taken up by a vacation that didn’t lend itself much to reading. Having said that, what reading time I had was well spent.

World Gone By, Dennis Lehane. No one combines as many key elements of good writing and storytelling as Lehane. He’s the best when he’s on his game, writing with style and grace without overtly making you so aware of it you’re distracted from the story, which is always good. I wasn’t a huge fan of Live By Night—at least not by the standards I set for Lehane’s work after such gems as The Given Day and The Drop—but World Gone By more than makes up for it. Enough so that I wonder if I should give Live By Night another chance.

King Maybe, Timothy Hallinan. As good as Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty series is—and that series is damned good---the Junior Bender saga might have eclipsed it. Hallinan is able to take a caper Donald Westlake would have been proud to involve John Dortmunder in and wraps it in a story of psychological control of another person that rises to a pathological level. Those who enjoy the break-ins that launched the series will have more than enough to entertain them, and those who fell under the spell of the more personal elements that turned up in Herbie’s Game and The Fame Thief will get plenty of that. In short, there’s something for everyone here, and, as always with Hallinan, seamlessly delivered.

Crime Scene, Connie Fletcher. The queen of oral police histories. Her books never get stale, no matter how often I read them.

400 Things Cops Know, Adam Plantinga. Another re-read (I’m researching the next Penns River book) that has already earned a place next to Fletcher on my shelf and in my esteem.

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