I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of mystery and detective stories. The editors did a good job of selecting stories published over a long span of yI thoroughly enjoyed this collection of mystery and detective stories. The editors did a good job of selecting stories published over a long span of years, representing changing styles and yet showing fairly consistent homage to Poe. Practically every one made me want to track down more by the author (while of course making me feel woefully under-read).
My one problem with this book is that each story has an introduction by the editors, and the introduction makes a not-so-veiled reference to how the story ends. While the preparatory remarks are mostly helpful while reading each story, the allegedly coy descriptions of the endings should be saved for a postscript.
I should also mention that this goodreads entry does not exactly match the copy that I have. The main thing is that the names of one of the editors, Mary Rose Sullivan, has been omitted. (My copy doesn't have an ISBN, as it was an old book club edition, and it doesn't match the other listing that goodreads has). Hopefully this will be updated at some point....more
A fine breezy detective/mystery story by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter). A reclusive ex-teacher is accused of killing three young girls and burying them in hA fine breezy detective/mystery story by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter). A reclusive ex-teacher is accused of killing three young girls and burying them in her yard next to her prize garden. There's lots of airtight evidence to convict her; among other things, a neighbor saw her do it. Our hero, defense attorney Matthew Hope, takes her case and away we go.
One of the things that made this so entertaining for me is that the story really could have gone any number of ways, some ending in guilt, some not. Somehow McBain even got me to thinking I'd spotted a surprise that he was plotting for the reader, but I think he meant for me to think that. That's a pretty good trick. And if I hadn't gotten drawn into that, here were other leads lurking for me. (Well, not for me specifically, but for all of us.)...more
I'd put the five Hammett novels into two tiers: at the top, and in best-first order, are Red Harvest, the Glass Key, and The Maltese Falcon, and nextI'd put the five Hammett novels into two tiers: at the top, and in best-first order, are Red Harvest, the Glass Key, and The Maltese Falcon, and next down are The Dain Curse and The Thin Man. The Thin Man is the weakest, I think, because of its semi-serious assortment of oddball characters and situations. Don't get me wrong, it's still a mighty fine book. The first three are 5-star all the way.
Even reading these for the first time I feel various degrees of familiarity, not only because I've seen some of the films made from them, but because they've had such an impact on works by other people. The style wherein a burst of action will casually appear within some tranquil prose is seen in, e.g., Chandler and (particularly) Parker, and Hammett's wisecracking hardboiled P.I. kind of dialog will probably never die. There's at least one scene in Red Harvest that went straight into "Blood Simple" (the Coen brothers movie) and similarly, "The Glass Key" is all over the Coen's "Miller's Crossing." Today it's hard to read The Maltese Falcon without hearing Bogart et al (although, really, that's not such a bad thing).
Highly recommended. Everybody who likes detective novels and movies should latch onto these 5 novels. I wish there were more.
A couple of notes about the packaging: this is a single book with all five novels crammed in. The book is printed in a page-saving way, with chapters run together instead of being separated by half-blank pages. I suppose that makes it seem shorter than it really is, if you go by page count. One odd thing (and here I suppose I should go off on a tangent: when reading Hammett it would really help to have an index; he can introduce new characters faster than I can turn pages -- perhaps reading an electronic copy would help so that you can search back for earlier references). While reading The Thin Man the name "Rosewater" appeared out of nowhere, seemingly referring to a character "Kelterman." I searched in vain for an earlier reference to Rosewater. After a little websearching after finishing, it seems that the name "Rosewater" was changed to "Kelterman" for the movie, and I'm guessing that the novel was re-published with that change for some reason, and that at least one instance wasn't caught. While that's not really what I took out of the book, I've gone on about it anyway....more
Hugger Mugger, the title character, is a prize racehorse who doesn't feature in the story much, other than to help establish an environment. SomebodyHugger Mugger, the title character, is a prize racehorse who doesn't feature in the story much, other than to help establish an environment. Somebody is shooting some horses of lesser value owned by the breeder, and Spenser, our intrepid private eye, is called upon to figure out why. He travels to Georgia to find that Things, needless to say, are not as they seem.
This is the 27th-ish book in the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker; I had read all (or at least most) of them up to this point, which is about when I stopped. The Spenser series had had its ups and downs, the worse of which was a bout of extreme Susan-ism from which it came back only to settle into a bit of sameness. When Parker died earlier this year, I couldn't help but add a couple of his books that I own but hadn't read to my queue, the first one being a non-Spenser book (Wilderness).
Hugger Mugger is a quick, easy, fun read, and I'm happy to have read it, but it suffers from being unremarkable. (Considering all the horses in abundance, it shouldn't be so pedestrian.) Hawk is completely missing, while Susan is present but mainly in the background. There are some other one-time characters to make up for them. This time, owing to the Atlanta-area setting I suppose, people drink more Coke than beer,and Spenser doesn't get to cook. By the end the mystery gets solved, women get saved, men with questionable value systems are put in their place, morality is upheld, Spenser returns to Boston, and there you have it....more
Detective/psychologist Alex Cross is taken off of a murder to investigate the prominent kidnapping of two children in Washington DC.
There's nothing exDetective/psychologist Alex Cross is taken off of a murder to investigate the prominent kidnapping of two children in Washington DC.
There's nothing exceptional about this book, which I found among the stacks of unread mystery books I've accumulated over a long time. It's an easy read, in the same sense that "See Spot Run" is an easy read: it's a book of short chapters filled with short sentences made up of small words. The characters pretty much speak in the same voice; any interesting attributes they may have are merely asserted but play very little role in their behavior as individuals (Alex may be a psychologist, but other than occasionally providing him the opportunity to act as one, this fact does not seem to give him anything more than the most trivial of insights). The only marginally interesting character is the villain, but his characterization is often undermined by the way he acts and is completely sandbagged at the end.
That's not to say it's a complete dud. I did read the whole thing, after all; it's handy to have something non-taxing to read, just like it's nice to listen to the rain. I'm not likely to seek out other Patterson books, tho if I run across another one I may pick it up and use it in this fashion....more
Maybe not quite 4 stars but again the 5-star system doesn't allow enough fineness, and 3 certainly is more wrong than 4.
This book contains the first tMaybe not quite 4 stars but again the 5-star system doesn't allow enough fineness, and 3 certainly is more wrong than 4.
This book contains the first three novels of the Harry Bosch detective series, now apparently numbering 17 novels, by Michael Connelly. It got it at a deep sale price, designed to get people to buy more of the series if they like it. That's a good tactic that's used a lot, though I've seen people do it wrong, e.g., by offering a book from the middle of the series. At least I consider it wrong.
So, the book. The character Harry Bosch is a police detective who, through various anti-establishment or rogue attitutes and activities, is not exactly in favor with the higher-ups. Of course. We learn that he was a "tunnel rat" in Vietnam - somebody who goes into Viet Cong tunnels to go up (so to speak) against the enemy. As soon as you read that, you might guess that there are going to be tunnels in his future. Sure enough, the first novel, "The Black Echo," starts right in on it. A body is found stuffed in an abandoned pipe, and there you have your first reference. Then there's more tunnelling underfoot as we learn about robberies involving underground entries and paths through sewer and other underground lines. The next novel is titled "The Black Ice," referring both to a kind of narcotic being smuggled into LA and to hidden dangers. Bosch pursues drug dealers, smugglers, and corrupt cops, and exposes himself to hidden danger and turmoil. There are no tunnels in the third novel, "The Concrete Blonde." But that's OK, because early on we've learned that tunnel is a metaphor for Bosch's troubled past, his inner turmoil, and the problems he continues to make for himself, creating more troubled pasts as he goes along.
I mentioned "The Black Ice" standing for at least two things, and this kind of duality echos, if you will, throughout these novels. The second one in particular is rife with dual meaning, parallelism, foreshadowing, and back references. The stories are deeper and denser than your typical breezy private eye / detective book, and yet in a different way from some of the classic heavier yet slicker PI books.
There's a lot to these novels and I'll likely come back at some point. They are good reads but not exactly easy reads: there's a lot of darkness, a lot of literary self-reference, a lot of reflection. When I learned that there are 14 more of them I had mixed feelings. These three made a pretty good set, and I think that too many more of them might just dilute them - imagine if Hammett wrote 17 novels about the Continental Op. (and no, don't take that to mean that these are on that level.) Hopefully I'll come back some day for another round....more
Three decent short stories featuring the Harry Bosch character: Suicide Run, Cielo Azul, and One-Dollar Jackpot. The first and third are interesting pThree decent short stories featuring the Harry Bosch character: Suicide Run, Cielo Azul, and One-Dollar Jackpot. The first and third are interesting procedurals with a bit of skill and twist. The second is a more hard-hitting psychological reflection - notable also for being a first person narrative rather than third person like the other two. A good quick read which makes me want to get back to the series of novels....more
Fiction about terrorists is not something I'm drawn to. I read this one because it's the first in a collection of 13 mystery/thriller novels that I piFiction about terrorists is not something I'm drawn to. I read this one because it's the first in a collection of 13 mystery/thriller novels that I picked up, and I started in on it because I figured 2300+ pages would keep me busy for a while. But really, I enjoyed this a lot more than three stars would indicate. If I had the sequel in front of me I'd be reading that next. Goodreads needs half-stars or else a more complex grading system with multiple axes. But that's getting off track. The book is about Kurdish terrorists who are infiltrating the US to carry out acts of violence aimed at convincing us to get out of Turkey. And it's about the two buddy agents who are up against them. And it's about how they (the terrorists) make a big mistake when they cross the wrong people.
It's a fun read but the details of the book don't, I think, bear too close examination. If you accept that you're reading a yarn and not something deeply analytical, you'll like it just fine. I know I did....more