Thursday, March 29, 2007

True Confessions by John Gregory Dunne

Ed Gorman posted a list of ten forgotten crime novels that should be read and reread over and over:

Odds Against Tomorrow William P. McGivern
The 31st of February Julian Symons
How Like An Angel Margaret Millar
The Blank Wall Elizabeth Sanxay Holding
Night and The City Gerald Kersh
The Far Cry Fredric Brown
Cocaine and Blue Eyes Fred Zackel
True Confessions John Gregory Dunne
On The Yard Malcolm Braly
Something in The Shadows Vin Packer

I've read, I think, three books out of the list (wanna guess what they are?) and I have Zackel's Cocaine and Blue Eyes on my TBR pile (which must be a mile long).
I'm getting to the climax of John Gregory Dunne's True Confessions (1972) and I must say that it's a very good crime novel that approaches literary novel without being pompous or "deep", like some books by someone like Dennis Lehane. There's a bit too much of inner monologue in here, too, but it's always connected to a greater scheme of politics and corruption in the Catholic church. And the book is very funny - Dunne writes great dialogue and especially the scene with the detectives in a radio show people can call their clues to is hilarious. Compared to Ellroy's The Black Dahlia, well, I'm a fan of Ellroy's LA Quartet, but the books are so different from one another that they don't compare very well, even though both are about the Black Dahlia case.
I haven't seen the film with Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro, but I remember that my dad used to like it - and he's not someone to recommend films too easily.


Anonymous said...

As I didn't quite mention on R-A the other day, I've been meaning to read McGivern's ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW since seeing the excellent film version. Even if the novel will lack John Lewis's fine score. McGivern was probably the best of the Ziff-Davis hacks (when he was hacking for Z-D), even his yardgoods under his own name tended to be eminently readable (in Howard Browne's FANTASTIC and FANTASTIC ADVENTURES).

Juri said...

My reading of McGivern has been unfortunately limited: only the abridged translation of his THE BIG HEAT. It seemed good, though, even though I really didn't buy his hero reading Spinoza.