The first book by Carol Goodman I read was The Lake of Dead Languages and that one was by far my favorite. I liked The Drowning Tree more than I thougThe first book by Carol Goodman I read was The Lake of Dead Languages and that one was by far my favorite. I liked The Drowning Tree more than I thought I would, despite it lacking from the setting several of the things that really hit my sweet spots in The Lake of Dead Languages - namely, Latin, very cold weather and a lot of loving descriptions of ice, and a lesbian romance subplot. The Seduction of Water ranks third on this list for sure. Because of the order I was reading the books, it seemed as though each plot was a more simplified and obvious derivative of the last. I could predict everything that was going to happen in The Seduction of Water and the romance felt annoyingly a little forced in for me. I couldn't even enjoy the more lyrical parts of the book, and the initial setting of New York City felt completely out of character and fake to me. I was not "there" at all. Now I am realizing (or actually I knew this at the time but am only beginning to think about it as i write this) that I've read these books in the complete reverse order from which they were written. I think Carol Goodman has become more subtle and more skilled as an author. If you liked The Seduction of Water at all you will probably love the other two books, because they are on the whole, I think, a lot better. ...more
I read some of these every October... and every now and again just because I like to live my life as if it's Halloween all the time, and mystery is alI read some of these every October... and every now and again just because I like to live my life as if it's Halloween all the time, and mystery is always lurking around every corner. I'm working my way through reading all the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels more or less in order, and then I want to read The Final Solution by Chabon. ...more
I liked this book a lot; unreasonably so perhaps. Several things just really worked for me and I'm not entirely certain I could pick them apart. SomeI liked this book a lot; unreasonably so perhaps. Several things just really worked for me and I'm not entirely certain I could pick them apart. Some elements were no surprise, and I could see where the author was going even before she started purposefully laying hints about going there. But I suspect that really I enjoyed this book for its subject matter and for its haunting tone, which despite all the ice imagery seemed to me very autumnal. This is one of those books that upon finishing, I became sad that I couldn't erase it from my mind somehow and then experience reading it again. I think this is a perfect book to read on a crisp October afternoon, sipping tea and looking out at a lake. Take it camping with you. ...more
This is a fantastic comic adaptation of an already fantastic book. Not merely a condensed and illustrated printing, the adaptation by David MazzucchelThis is a fantastic comic adaptation of an already fantastic book. Not merely a condensed and illustrated printing, the adaptation by David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik is an excellent example of the unique way that the language of comics works, and what an amazing medium icomics can be when used to a fuller extent than the style of superhero comics. This is definitely worth reading; even if you've already read the novel several times over you will find something new. ...more
These dreamlike mystery shorts are fun and bizarre. Sala's slightly creepy and wrinkly style of ink drawing meshes perfectly with his strange sort ofThese dreamlike mystery shorts are fun and bizarre. Sala's slightly creepy and wrinkly style of ink drawing meshes perfectly with his strange sort of meta-mystery, almost existentialist little tales. All of Richard Sala's comics remind me of Paul Auster's NY Trilogy, and especially the first book of the trilogy, City of Glass. They play with and poke fun at common mystery and detective story tropes. Sala has more of a horror element as well, though, and certainly more whimsy. Fans of Edward Gorey would like Richard Sala.
Like all of Sala's work, the stories in Hypnotic Tales have a lot of murder and mayhem and maniacal laughter, and though they don't all have endings it doesn't really matter. Sala's world is too weird for you to notice if something doesn't resolve because you'll be constantly distracted by the next black masked figure or shrunken headed murderer. I think this beautiful, slim hardcover is a great introduction to this quirky comic artist. ...more
I cannot get enough of Richard Sala. Black Cat Crossing seems like it may be older material; this is a very short collection of mostly 1-2 page stripsI cannot get enough of Richard Sala. Black Cat Crossing seems like it may be older material; this is a very short collection of mostly 1-2 page strips and very short stories, some of which have familiar characters from his more recent and longer works (and in fact that's what makes me think these are older). I prefer his more developed tales, but all the same creepy and kooky elements that I love from the longer stuff are present in Black Cat Crossing - mystery, absurdity, conspiracy, occult themes (usually so bizarre and outré as to be nearly a parody of occult themes, but very light on the sarcasm, which I appreciate) and a general weirdo Halloweentown feel. I bought this used copy recently, and I finally picked up off the recent acquisitions pile last night and blasted through it. I was just teasing myself really - now I wish Sala would put out something new in time for fall! ...more
This is my favorite of Richard Sala's longer works. The story is complicated and bizarre and honestly it might not even all add up in the end, but I dThis is my favorite of Richard Sala's longer works. The story is complicated and bizarre and honestly it might not even all add up in the end, but I didn't really care. The plot is positively labrynthian. Psychics and Astrologers are being murdered. An out of work writer inadvertently begins investigating the case after finding an alluring photograph of a young woman, and becomes drawn into the deadly world of outsider art collection. A secret society of serial killers begins tracking down one of their own who mysteriously disappeared many years ago, but who may be making a comeback. Sala uses comic art to get at some aspects of mystery novels that have been largely forgotten these days; the art of misdirection for one. This is definitely worth a read for any comics buff as well as mystery or horror fans wanting to get into comics....more
This book both began and ended in unexpected ways. I liked the main character. I feel like the setup for her life and future novels is ripe for some mThis book both began and ended in unexpected ways. I liked the main character. I feel like the setup for her life and future novels is ripe for some more serialized medium like comics, or television. The odd and long denouement that constitutes the last third of the book seemed to be setting up future story arcs for the main character, if not how her 'series' would ultimately end. I don't know if any of that groundwork will be picked up in later novels with Cordelia Gray, but it would be rather disappointing if they weren't.
Gray is an cold (or perhaps just typically British) character and I found her a bit hard to understand or identify with. Actually I felt that way about most of the characters. Nonetheless I never got the feeling that there wasn't a lot going on with them. At least with Gray I felt there was a considerable amount of psychological exploration into her, and a lot of it was probably just laying groundwork for her character in later books. I rather liked that. Also, having her be a bit unintelligible made me more honestly surprised at the twists and turns of the plot, so perhaps there's something to be said about keeping readers in the dark about more than just who the murderer is.
All in all it was OK for a mystery - better than the average I would wager. There were a few exciting parts, anyway. I would read more of James stories with Cordelia Gray. But it was nothing to shout about from the rooftops. ...more