Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dope by Sara Gran, Part II

Wow. That was probably the noiriest novel I've read since Moony's Road to Hell by Manuel Ramos . And that one is pretty noir. I'd have to read Ramos again to figure out which is noirier. Since I read at a snail's pace, that's not likely to happen. Anyway, Sara Gran is to be commended. The book kept my interest and she captured the same feel I got from reading Ed McBain's The Gutter and the Grave. That is very high praise but well deserved.

I'd like to get a hold of her first novel Come Closer but I've never seen a copy (haven't looked really) and I have literally over a thousand books on my TBR pile. Interestingly, besides what I've set for myself as a prep for interviews I want to do, the top of my TBR pile is all recommended stuff from CrimeSpree . I'm not often swayed by reviews, but they're smart people. Dope was one of their praised ones. Next I'm looking for Drive and Blood Knot.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jose LaTour

One of the better mystery writer's around, Jose LaTour of Outcast fame, now has a website. Take a look . If your like mysteries set in exotic locales or noiry stuff, then you can't do too much better than to see what all Jose has done. Oh and the man himself is a sweetheart. Well spoken in two languages, thoughtful and caring. Enjoy.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dope - Sara Gran

Among a half dozen other books, I'm reading Dope by Sara Gran . It's an odd experience. When I was growing up there was an abandoned building across the street that heroin addicts used as a shooting gallery. Saw my fair share of junkies everyday. Never saw any that were lucid enough to form complete thoughts - they were either itching for a hit and jittery or had just gotten their hit and so mellow you could light them on fire without getting much reaction. In fact, one summer, they kept leaving their candles on and that abandoned building must have had a half dozens visits from the fire department. They'd pull the burning mattresses out and wet them down.

Anyway, the detour is to say that Sara Gran imagines a world where junkies can speak coherently. Of course, she's writing about the 1950s. Maybe that explains things. My junkies were a mid 1970s vintage. If the main character were interviewing these people, she'd have to talk about a lot more drool and imaginary spiderwebs and a lot less personal hygiene.

Well written, lively story, almost a cozy through the first 120 pages - everyone knows each other and there's no sex or gore...so far. I'm liking it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Still Here...

I've been up to my eyeballs in student papers. Short and simple. I'd love to say I've been reading ms. that I promised to read, or writing the noir novel that I'm about 10k short of finishing. None of that would reflect reality. I'm simply swamped. In the past few weeks, I've managed to miss three deadlines for short story contests (stories written out in my head but, alas...) and backburnered ad copy that I'm supposed to come up with for ad space I'm running this summer. Can I catch up? Well, I don't have much choice.