Nikki 's Reviews > Death Claims

Death Claims by Joseph Hansen
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's review
Oct 20, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: queer, mystery, crime
Read 2 times. Last read October 24, 2010.

Minor spoiler here, not about the identity of the murderer, but about a subplot involving Doug.

The only thing that turns me off Joseph Hansen's writing is the thickness of the description. It's vivid, but it's too vivid: a paragraph worth of setting the scene every single time, adjective piled on adjective. They're good descriptions, and I guess it's all a part of his style, but sometimes it gets in the way.

He is good with characters, though. For all the similarities to Chandler, I like the way he handles characters much, much more. Even the ones you don't see much of, I care about. Peter Oats is absent most of the story, but I care about him, and sometimes when people are suspected, you don't want it to be true. I called it, in this story -- something about the way the lens of the story never swung round to one particular guy who I was ready to have suspicions about.

Didn't call all the twists and turns, though, and there's a lot of stuff in the background to care about, too -- Madge, and Doug, and Doug's mother. I loved the glimpses of Doug and Dave's relationship, loved that Dave made it work out. With the private investigator tropes of being alone against the world -- like Chandler's Phillip Marlowe, since the comparison is an obvious one -- you have to worry that Dave will just let it go, do whatever hurts less, and he doesn't. He chooses people who are alive over the dear departed. I love that.

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