karen's Reviews > Hound

Hound by Vincent McCaffrey
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Jan 23, 11

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bookshelves: books-about-books-about-books
Read from January 19 to 20, 2011

this is not a great mystery novel, but it is a good read. there are actually a couple of mysteries contained within this small novel, but it is really the story of a man who loves books. the author is himself a bookhound, so naturally he knows his stuff and has an excellent vantage point from which to write this character. people who love books are going to love this book, because his excitement in both reading and hunting them is contagious.mystery novel fans may feel a bit underwhelmed.

the strongest parts are definitely the passages about the book trade. when he is talking about his early years in the book business - the drive he had, his methods for obtaining and assessing books, right down to the mechanics of building the shelving units for maximum saleability and display space, and also when he later talks about appraising collections of books - there is a passion that comes through in the writing that is absent from other scenes.

i would love this author to write a book-memoir, like larry mcmurtry has done about his years in the book trade, because these are the kinds of stories that excite me - more than murder, more than brutality, i like to know about where to find good used books!

the rest of the book has its awkward moments - rants on the flaws of then modern age, annoyingly unsophisticated philosophical arguments that remind me of stoned friends in undergrad, details that are given as afterthoughts when they should probably be given more emphasis, weak transitions. but when he is writing about books, this story shines; the parts that are good are very very good:

"it was here he had first understood the true smell of books. the peculiar odor of a few pages held open to his nose was already a perfume he had savored. here, it was the sum of the scent of a million books which once flowed and ebbed on the tide of human inquiry - the aroma mixed with the smell of polished wood, cooled and condensed against the marble floors, arising again around the electric glow of milky orbs in brass bowls, drifting about the green-shaded lights at the tables, and stirred by the brush of wool on the arms of readers lost in a greed for words."

the secondary mystery is the stronger of the two; the main mystery is fairly pedestrian and any of the character development that involves family or love instead of the passion for books is oddly stilted and not very interesting. but it is definitely worth a read for the booky bits, and the resolution of the secondary mystery.
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Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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message 1: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Elizabeth wrote: "Karen! Goodreads won't let me click "like." It keeps giving me a spinning circle thing but no result. I really want to vote for this but the site hates me."

me too

The Crimson Fucker i can't vote for this review!

The Crimson Fucker i wonder... are they trying to finally do something about voting sock puppets??? or maybe karen got so many votes already that the system can't handle more!!!!

message 4: by Mariel (new)

Mariel Remind me to like later. Stupid gr.

The Crimson Fucker is that the conditions of my surrender? i have to become your secretary!?

karen what is it with you and sock puppets, alfonso?? you are creating your own conspiracy-laden world, like... well, like white people!!

and it's for all reviews, not just mine, silly!

The Crimson Fucker i got nothing better to do!!!!

karen phew.

i am going on adventures now, but i will be back to vote for every review that exists, like a mad hoarder...just in case.

message 9: by Mariel (new)

Mariel I do need a secretary. And you didn't tell me! Fonso must have wanted to deprive this review of a much deserved vote.

karen it's true, i am underappreciated on the internet.

The Crimson Fucker maybe if i were to be set free....

karen are you trapped?? like in a genie lantern??


The Crimson Fucker if you rub me the right way... yeah!

message 14: by Mariel (new)

Mariel Don't do it, Karen! He tricks. I wished for a hot guy and he sent Steven Seagal.

The Crimson Fucker Mariel wrote: "Don't do it, Karen! He tricks. I wished for a hot guy and he sent Steven Seagal."


karen Alfonso wrote: "if you rub me the right way... yeah!"
how did i not see that coming.


message 17: by Mariel (new)

Mariel You're telling me! I have my doubts about your taste in guys.

The Crimson Fucker ha!!! i have great taste when it comes to men!!! Brad Pitt! and Pierce Brosnan (as James Bond!) you in the other hand...

message 19: by Mariel (new)

Mariel Awwww you need to work on your self esteem.

The Crimson Fucker .... i'm confused! what that's supposed to mean!?

message 21: by Mariel (new)

Mariel It could mean that you are my taste in guys or it could mean you pride yourself on your really bad taste in guys.

The Crimson Fucker damn! now i'm more confused than before!!! how you do that!!!?

karen are there love-declarations on my thread??

message 24: by Mariel (new)

Mariel We are just sorting out Fonsos esteem. I need to know if I need to get employee health benefits.

message 25: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca I'd ask for death-by-misadventure cover, first.

The Crimson Fucker can somebody explain to me what's going on here!!!?

message 27: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Have you seen the Bookman series of mysteries? If so, can you compare them to this?

karen oh, yeah - i read the first one of those and i liked it!! i think he has a better handle on how to write a structured mystery. i mean to read more of those, too.

karen fonso - i don't know, but i like it.

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