LA Confidential (video review)

One good turn deserves another, so here is a quick review of James Ellroy’s LA Confidential.

Even if you saw the movie, read LA Confidential. The book is very, very good, even better than the movie.

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Deception…

Deception On His Mind, by Elizabeth George sends one of her regular characters, Barbara Havers, on a solo job. She rushes off to the fictional sea-side town of Balford-le-Nez, where a recently arrived Pakistani has been found dead, apparently murdered. Havers soon gets the job of interfacing with the local Pakistani community, which is inflamed by racial tensions thanks to actors on both sides of the divide. As would be expected, there is a list of potential suspects ranging from ex-employees to fellow immigrants, all of which have motives and means.

George tells the whole story in the course of nearly five hundred pages. While some of it is repetitive, it’s a pleasure to read a thoroughly written book as opposed to the more slender, sparsely populated ones of late. There is the backdrop of a town on the skids with renewal on the way. There is the coming marriage of the deceased into a wealthy family looking to maintain their religious traditions amidst a more secular society. There is the dynamics between Havers and her temporary boss, a relationship that teeters on the brink now and then. Not to mention the friendship between two young women whose common history is now unraveling. George leaves nothing out, building a narrative of these and many more elements, all of which spin together in a world that is highly believable.

Deception On His Mind can be read without knowing all of Havers’ background through George’s other mysteries featuring her and Inspector Lynley. Therefore, those looking for a taste of this series will find it enjoyable.

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bad Things Happen, book review

Bad Things Happen, written by Harry Dolan, is one of the most complicated crime novels I’ve ever read. The plot centers around the death of Tom Kristoll, a literary journal publisher in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There’s a precursor murder, too, that figures deeply into the chain of events, and it’s this primary act that sets the main character on his journey to find out what happened, how it happened, and who made it happen. David Loogan is the main character and he has some secrets of his own. You’ll have to jump a hurdle in the beginning of the book, one that’s not easy to get over, but if you do, you’ll be richly rewarded with a convoluted experience worth your reading hours.

As Loogan sniffs out the trail of Kristoll’s killer, he finds himself enmeshed with a number of minor and major literary characters, all with ties to Kristoll, all with potential motives, and they include Kristoll’s widow who uses Loogan for some fun of her own. Loogan is not alone in his quest. The book is set in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and Detective Elizabeth Waishkey is on the case. She’s got detective talent, a daughter, and no husband. Her emotions can get confused at times (this is the weakest part of the story but don’t let it knock you out of the narrative). Working toward the same goal but for different reasons, Loogan and Waishkey uncover the facts and track down the killer(s) in a highly readable thriller. But thriller is not the best way to describe this book. It has thrilling elements, but it also has intricacies that pull you along, that make you turn the page.

There are enough twists to satisfy any crime novel lover and the best part is every one is believable. It’s rare a book like this achieves that mission, but Harry Dolan does, and my hat is off to him. Enjoy the ride!

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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