Thursday, November 3, 2016

October's Best Reads

Back in the saddle in October and I have a few true treats to share.

The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney. Deserves every award it won, and then some. A look at two damaged people who deal with their losses in different ways, told through examinations of two cold cases. Berney uses the wit he showed in Gutshot Straight and Whiplash River to keep what could have been a depressing story hopeful, never unrealistically so. Every time the story comes to a point where a lesser book would take one route, Berney takes the other. The result is unfailingly effective, both emotionally and as entertainment. A truly special book.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. I went to see David Swinson at a banned book event where he read from Lee’s masterpiece and confessed afterward I was the guy who’d never read it. David made me bring his copy home with me. Another book that deserves all its praise. The core story of racial hatred didn’t resonate with me as much as the book’s reputation implied, mainly because I’m 60 years old and there wasn’t much in there I didn’t already know. What surprised me was Lee’s easy writing and sly wit, each of which create wonderful characters and characterizations. To serve TKAM solely as a moral lesson does it a disservice. It’s a masterful piece of writing.

One or the Other, John McFetridge. Book Three of the Eddie Dougherty series, this time starting with the Brinks robbery and going through the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The tease of homicide has worn thin with Eddie and his personal life grows more important. McFetridge continues his move into Joe Wambaugh territory, writing less about cases than how the cases affect the cop. A nice look into the shifting responsibilities of a cop as cases come and go, told with all the style and wit one has come to expect from McFetridge.


pattinase (abbott) said...

The Berney book was great. Been pushing it all over town. And, of course, John is terrific.

seana graham said...

Second or maybe third the McFetridge. Great series. And having reread To Kill a Mockingbird not all that long ago, I definitely think it's held up over time. Not sure if I will ever read the controversial sequel--or is it prequel--Go Set a Watchman. And glad to hear you recommend the Berney as the novel sure does seem to be sweeping up a lot of awards.