Friday, April 14, 2006

War Crimes - G. Miki Hayden

Picked up A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime a week or so ago. In it was a short story with some of the smoothest prose I've read in a while. For my money, having read only two of her stories so far, there is no one I can think of in the mystery field who can nail a character's voice like G. Miki Hayden. She did this with a character named Miriam a raved about a few months ago, and she does this in her story War Crimes here.

The voice in the the Miriam story is that of an African immigrant in NYC. Pitch perfect. In War Crimes we're listening to a veteran of the War in the Pacific of WWII. This veteran spends his time as a prisoner of the Japanese. The smallest of incidents (from one point of view) causes this POW to hold a grudge which may have contributed to a death. Though fifty years have passed and the POW is now a respected judge, the guilt sticks like tar. That sentiment taints every word of the narrative. The entire tone is dead on from start to finish. Really a master class in 1st person narration. Worth the price of the book.


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