Friday, June 09, 2006

Books read from the last couple weeks or days

Just a quick note on some books:

James Hadley Chase: Eve (1945; no American publication that I know of) - basis for a famous film by Joseph Losey (1962), but of little interest as a thriller, Chase doesn't really know how to make American settings plausible, this has characters Clive, Carol, Rex etc., which doesn't ring true; a Cainish story, but not enough plot; the paperback I have has a nice cover by someone signing as "Charles"

Day Keene: My Flesh Is Sweet (1951) - reprint from Stark House, coupled with Keene's debut novel, Framed In Guilt (1949), which I've read in a Finnish translation; at points overwritten, at points a bit over-elliptic and I had hard time following what happened, but a solid noir thriller nevertheless (I may yet to write more about Keene later on)

Scott Phillips: The Walkaway (2001 or so) - I liked Phillips's The Ice Harvest a great deal, nominating it one of the best crime novels I've ever read; this is both the sequel and the prequel, which Phillips pulls with most admirable skill: you just don't see the climax coming; yet it's also very different from the first novel

Steve Holland: The Mushroom Jungle (1993) - a good history of the British paperback boom of the 1940's and 1950's, with unbelievable stories of the publishers' cruelty: one publisher kept a writer in a cellar in order to have him write the promised two novels in a week, afterwards the publisher asked the writer to pay the rent for the cellar, since the guy had slept in there! another guy died from hunger and sickness just after not getting any advance money even though he'd delivered the manuscript in time, etc. etc. Highly recommended, even though the book's index is worthless, which I noticed only after having read the book and having made no notes!

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