Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FADEOUT - Joseph Hansen



Evidently this is the first PI mystery where the investigator is openly gay.  Written in 1970 Dave Brandsetter is sent to investigate the disappearance of radio personality Fox Olsen.

Along the way he uncovers a series of damaged individuals before solving several murders.

This is a good hard boiled mystery in the Lew Archer mold.  Its a bit dated with some of its 70's slang but this shouldn't put you off, very enjoyable and it is a series with several more to read.

Monday, July 21, 2014

1974 -David Peace



This is not for the faint hearted, it is brutal.  Little girls have been going missing and some have been found and some have not.

Local crime reporter Eddie Dunford believes these crimes are connected and starts digging, he digs people die.  He is soon off side with his employers, his girlfriend and the people he is trying to help.  He is especially offside with the Police.

This is very very violent, close to pornographic in its violence, the language is appalling, Eddie is a train wreck but he is driven to solve the mystery and in doing so lots of his life gets destroyed.

Its a good read and was David Peace's first novel and as such is fantastic but I exaggerate not about the content.







SPOILT ROTTEN - Theodore Dalrymple



Another series of essays which attack what Mr Dalrymple calls the cult of sentimentality.  His main target is the media , he asks why does a wealthy handsome victim of a serious crime deserve the public sympathy by having their story told over and over in the media when an alcoholic homeless man suffering the same fate hardly merits a mention.  This is over simplifying what he says but I believe I have expressed the point he is trying to make.

Another very valid point he made is that if you behave like Madeleine McCann's parents and face the media stoically without screaming and spitting and rolling around on the ground you in these enlightened times get accused of not caring enough. With the result that very soon it is being suggested that you have murdered your daughter because you didn't scream and spit and roll about on the tiles.  Again a over simplification of what he is expressing but the point is the same.

Again a very good collection by a man who has worked in the fields he writes about, recommended.

THE AMBUSHERS -Donald Hamilton



This is a comic without the pictures, great fun, read it in two long baths, a guilty secret.

Matt Helm is an agent for a US Government Department, he's a killer , a lady killer, someone who is ever resourceful and always gets the job done.

The formula through 20 odd book is identical with the locations and a few name changes but they are a guilty secret better written than the Bond books but the same style.

THE RETURN OF LITTLE BIG MAN - Thomas Berger



This is written 37 years after " Little Big Man" and it shows.  The hero Jack Crabb is alive and again  interviewed by a reporter:  he again sets about setting the record straight on events from the west.

Crabb was the only white survivor of The Battle at Little Big Horn, he was there when Wild Bill Hickok died with his hand of eights and aces.  He was an integral  part of Buffalo Bills Wild West Show.

Again we get the history as we did with the first book but its not as funny, doesn't flow as well and has a tried too hard feel about it.  Berger was 75 years of age when he wrote this and while its a good effort I believe he should have left Jack Crabb in 1964 and left his quiet amazing body of work since speak for him.

Its an interesting read with good history and interesting facts but I have been spoilt  by the original.

THUNDERBALL - Ian Fleming



This in my opinion is the second best of the Bond's just behind Goldfinger.  Two nuclear missiles are stolen by SPECTRE and Bond is tasked to locate them before a major US city is destroyed.

This is the book that introduces Blofeld as head of SPECTRE. The movie follows this book fairly faithfully and it is one of my favourites in the movie franchise.

Again the Bond books never going to win a Man Booker but that's because they are readable.  Great escapism and uttering un-politically correct.


OVER MY DEAD BODY - Rex Stout



A couple of murders get Nero Wolfe and Archie on the trail.  This revolves around Yugoslav nationals and a Fencing School in Manhattan.

Not one of the best in the series but still very suitable for a winter Sunday.