Three stars is decent for a retread, I think. Rankin has repackaged his Rebus short stories previously published in crime magazines and collected in "Three stars is decent for a retread, I think. Rankin has repackaged his Rebus short stories previously published in crime magazines and collected in "A Good Hanging" and "Beggars Banquet" plus a couple of fresh stories to freshen the offering.
The short stories are fine and, rare for a crime short story, actually work. I've read about ten Rebus books, starting around the year 2000, so I know all about John Rebus. Knowing the Rebus background means that stories don't feel rushed, trying to cram in some character along with the plot.
I enjoyed the coda. Rankin gives a nice sketch of his life and career. Veteran authors often have a very different viewpoint from when they first started. Rankin palpability cringes at his early efforts, like "Knots & Crosses", which is understandable. One would expect, and I imagine Rankin would expect, to improve after 25 or novels. I'm a big fan of Rankin and Rebus. For the likes of me, this book is a treat, retread or not. ...more
What a find! Maile Meloy, I suppose, is not newly found. It seems the heavyweights of the industry have heaped honours on her since her debut collecti What a find! Maile Meloy, I suppose, is not newly found. It seems the heavyweights of the industry have heaped honours on her since her debut collection of stories in 2002. But she’s new to me and Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It is one of the best books of 2009.
This is an author with talent to burn but we get no writerly pyrotechnics. Meloy is confident enough to rely on her clear, unadorned prose to propel us along. Her stories flow, swiftly as a Montana stream, and get us there scarcely before we realize what has happened. She shares a rare talent with Alice Munro, knowing exactly what to leave out and make the little twists seem as natural as a bend in a river.
She sets several stories in Montana, her native state, but others travel to Argentina, eastern boarding schools, and a nuclear power plant. The dialogue is always clear and sharp and real.
Meloy may be hailed as a writer’s writer, but don’t let that worry you. It just means that she tells a story with terrific conciseness. It’s an enjoyable read – and one of the best of 2009. ...more