Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Ed Wood's sex stories coming your way!?

Ed Wood's erotic prose is getting a collection. Find out about it more here!

I never got around to reading Wood's earlier horror and crime collection Blood Spatters Quickly, though I was tempted, but this intrigues me even more.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Jordan Harper: She Rides Shotgun

I'm late joining the crowd praising Jordan Harper's first novel, She Rides Shotgun. It came out already in 2017 (okay, less than two years ago, which to my mind means it's a new book), but I managed to get it only last Christmas (it was a present from me to me). True, I read it very fast once I started it. She Rides Shotgun is an excellent crime novel, which really deserved the Edgar for the best debut it got.

She Rides Shotgun has been compared to Charles Portis's True Grit, a marvellous anti-Western Western from the late 1960's. True, Portis's novel is narrated by the 14-year female lead herself, and She Rides Shotgun is divided between chapters in which the main focalizer (and not the narrator) is either 11-year old Polly McClusky or his ex-con father  Park, who is out to save her ass from the neo-nazis that already killed her mother.

The premise is already intriguing. Add to that Harper's narrative skills and his lines of occasional poetry, and you have a winner. Add to that a copious amount of shuddering violence, and you have a double-winner. And mind you, there's never a hint of sexual abuse toward Polly, though lesser writers might have veered into that direction. I didn't know if the prelude with the bad sheriff of a Hicksville was necessary, but it got the fear of him into my heart.

You've all probably read about Dan Mallory already. I have his Woman in the Window as by A. J. Finn sitting on a shelf, but I can forget it and read She Rides Shotgun again instead. (But really, the New Yorker piece on Mallory is amazing.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Jason Starr: Fugitive Red

I bought three new crime novels for Christmas presents for myself, and I managed to read two of them during the holidays (Tana French's The Witch Elm will have to wait, as I had to get back to work). Both were very good.

Jason Starr's Fugitive Red I read in a day. I started it late at night, but couldn't wait to get back to it the next day, and then I stayed up till two. This is vintage Starr, up there with some of his best work, trimmed, exciting, bursting with suspense and despair, with an ambivalent ending.

Fugitive Red is about a real estate broker who starts to flirt with a woman he meets online on a dating site. This leads to a nightmare he couldn't imagine and one he can't get out of. Starr writes about relatable characters - at least I felt I could relate to this guy, who keeps telling himself he can lose some weight if he wants to and who thinks there's a reward for him, if he just keeps on doing his thing. Wouldn't want to be in his shoes, though. Starr is the perfect embodiment of the noir sensibility of the fourties and fifties, but he doesn't retort to old clichés of hardboiled school, and the use of online social media is very believably mixed into the narrative. (Which is something you don't often see - not long ago I read a newish Finnish horror novel, and I thought it was set in the past, possibly in the early-to-mid-nineties, since no one used a smartphone!)

There's a bit of a news about Jason Starr I want to share, but you'll have to wait. (Someone might remember what I'm talking about, if he's been reading my blog for long enough. )

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sam Hawken: Missing

I really liked Hawken's earlier novel, Juaréz Dance, in all its minimalism. During the last Christmas holiday, I read his later novel, Missing, which is also set in Texan-Mexican milieu. I have heard that his critical view of Mexico is not necessarily true or honest, but it makes for a gripping read. Missing is about a former Marine, who leads a pretty quiet life in Laredo, Texas. Things get sour, when his half-Mexican daughter and her Mexican friend disappear after a concert. The book starts slowly, develops slowly and builds into a violent, shattering climax that leaves you gasping for air. What's more important is that the book is also believable, with relatable characters.

A lengthier post to follow, on Jason Starr and Jordan Harper - or two posts.