Thursday, December 11, 2008

Favorite crime writers' Xmas offerings

Some favorite crime writers I've read recently:

1. The latest P.D. James: The Private Patient.

This has to be one of the grand dame's weakest. You have to wonder whether, at age 88, she's past it.

It's a very English, fussy, far too homey sort of novel, full of irrelevant personal and domestic detail, how kitchens are laid out, etc, and with the weakest resolution you could imagine. The killer confesses, for god's sake! How poor is that! What, the police couldn't work it out?

The relationships among the characters are cold and impersonal, and frankly, irritating.

As for the too perfect Inspector Dalgliesh. Is he human? Who cares?

Don't buy and don't read it.

2. Ian Rankin's Doors Open.

This is, quite simply, a very weak and disappointing effort from Rankin. Was it an early attempt, done years ago, and now pulled out of the bottom drawer and dusted off? A young Rankin? If so his publisher has done him no favors.

Where is the tired cynicism, the world-weariness, the marvellous sense of Edinburgh we’ve come to expect from the wonderful Rebus novels?

Don't buy and don't read it.

3. Michael Connelly's The Brass Verdict.

Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller is way too smart, lucky and successful. Virtually every plot twist happens because he's just so damn clever. Humanising him by giving him drug problems doesn’t cut it. Few people can relate to that. And now he doesn’t even drink for god's sake! Sorry!

Connelly throws Harry Bosch into the mix to kick the whole thing up a notch, but it's a pared down Bosch and it sort of grates. And the family connection between the two, revealed at the end, is quite unbelievable.

Give us straight Bosch Michael, and for god's sake give Haller a drink or even a drinking problem. Forget the drugs. It doesn't work. Drugs aren't for heroes, they're for losers.

Don't buy it and don't read it.

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