Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Books read: Charlie Huston, Arthur Maling, Emerson Dodge (almost)

Some capsule reviews of some books I've read recently, after completing the book on forgotten writers:

Charlie Huston: Already Dead. One of Huston's Vampyre novels, with Joe Pitt as the vampire private eye. I'm not sure whether I'll read more of these, but this was entertaining enough, with Huston's ultrahardboiled style that moves in present tense. A bit too long, perhaps, and not enough plot for my taste. Huston's received lots of praise from the hardboiled aficionado, but the Vampyre mythology pretty much wore me out. Couple of real Ross Macdonaldish moments in the bunch, however, which makes me want to read more of his non-Vampyre work.

Arthur Maling: From Thunder Bay (1981, translated in Finnish as Veljensä vartija, WSOY/SAPO 1988 or so). Seems pretty obscure these days, but Maling has published quite many books. This one is a Dortmunderish story, without Westlake's humour, about a two-bit loser who accidentally kills a cop after a raid on a plane he's been flying without knowing he's smuggling guns into the US. I had mixed feelings about this - it's touching and warm in its depiction of its anti-hero, but also pretty long, and as I said, there's not much humour in it. But I did finish the book and should say that read it if you can find it cheap. There are elements you don't easily find in an American crime novel - one of the heroes (or anti-heroes, actually) is an Ojibwa Indian who belongs to the Canadian Marxist-Stalinist Party.

I've been also reading Emerson Dodge's Australian paperback novel that was published in Finnish as Lyijypuuroa aamiaiseksi (translates back as Lead Porridge for Breakfast), without mentioning the original title. I've carried this along with me to buses and banks and such, so I'm pretty much in the middle. It's pretty okay so far, traditional Western with raggedly handsome Buck Fallon as the hero. Dodge is Paul Wheelahan, one of the most prolific Australian paperbackers.

Now I'm reading Laura Lippman's Charm City from 1998, but really have to get on again with my work.


Unknown said...

I read and enjoyed several of Maling's books in the late '70s and early '80s. I seem to remember some sort of scandal connected with him and the books, but I can't quite bring it back.

Juri said...

If it comes back to you, do let us know. Sounds interesting. It seems he stopped writing in the eighties, with a long pause between the last two.