Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Michael Koryta's A Welcome Grave

You might remember I lost this book for at least a week and my reading experience was a bit ruffled by the incident, but it was still a very good book, a good example of the recent private eye fiction that doesn't have any of the noirish clichés of the private eye fiction that still marr the image of the hardboiled gumshoe in people's eyes. Very few of these books have been translated in Finnish, which means many have the wrong image of the new PI novels.

Okay, to the book. The setting is very intriguing and fresh: someone kills brutally the guy who "stole" Lincoln Perry's (Perry being Koryta's PI hero) girlfriend many years ago and married her. Lincoln Perry is the first suspect, since he's known to have  fought with the deceased. The wife knows the dead man had a son and someone should notify him about the death of his father. Perry finds the son quite easily, but in the middle of the night, in a gazebo somewhere, the son pulls the trigger and kills himself.

And then I lost the book.

And then I found it. (Or actually Elina, my wife, found it while cleaning.)

But I got back on the track. A Welcome Grave is one of those touching and tragic PI novels in the mould of Ross Macdonald or Jonathan Valin. The webs of history and family life are very complex in this book. At times I felt there was a bit too much dwelling on Perry's love life and he has a mildly weird sidekick (a trait I don't really like in new PI fiction), but I'm not really complaining. The climax is quite shattering and full of action. This would make a nice film. My only complaint is that Lincoln Perry is not as memorable characther as someone like Philip Marlowe or Dan Fortune. Maybe that's the point: the people around the PI are the story.

Oh, here's Koryta's website.

1 comment:

Randy Johnson said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Comparisons with MacDonald and Valin, two favorites, make this one a must read.