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Category Archive for 'Reviews—Fiction'

From Seattlepi.com, an introduction with full content at the link: There was a rumor going around that George Pelecanos was done with crime fiction. I, for one, am glad he put that rumor soundly away with the writing of The Cut , the first novel in the Spero Lucas (pronounced Spee-row) series. Whether it was the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn novels or [...]

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The Accomplices, by Simenon It opens with a terrible bus accident at a dangerous curve in the rain…“just enough [rain] to cover the asphalt with a sticky film.” The place was known as the Big Hill. The bus full of Parisian summer camp children crashes and burns with only one survivor. Lambert had heard the bus [...]

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The Blue Room, by Georges Simenon The psychological drama was first published in 1955 in French, then in English in 1964. On the first page it begins with “Andrée naked still on the ravaged bed, her legs apart, a few drops of semen clinging to the dark hair, shadowy between her thighs.” In their love-making, [...]

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In his New York Times book review of Let The Great World Spin (2009) by Colum McCann, Jonathan Mahler called it “one of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.” I certainly thought so. I loved it—and will get a copy for my library. (I mostly read books from the public library, [...]

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The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (1898 –1963), published 1942 This is an entertaining piece of satire full of meaningful lessons on God and the work of the devil. It is in the form of 31 letters by Screwtape, a worldly-wise assistant to “Our Father Below,” written to his demon nephew Wormwood, a novice [...]

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The premise of Antler Dust, Colorado resident Mark Stevens’ first novel, is enticing. It’s about Allison Coil, a female hunting guide working the big elk hunts in the Colorado Flat Tops Wilderness and two killings—of humans—on the opening day of hunting season. One death involves the “creative suicide” of Ray Stern, an animal rights activist [...]

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James M. Cain’s first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, is a short violent book that was “banned in Boston” for its sexual content. Written in 1934, the obscenity was extremely tame by today’s standards. I liked this, typical of the dialog: “I kissed her. Her eyes were shining up at me like two blue [...]

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The Los Angels Times called Chump Change “passionate, obscene and quite wonderful.” It is passionate and obscene…and well written, but wonderful? I must admit that my brief forays into Charles Bukowski and John Fante, the author’s father, have taken their toll. I keep remembering that one of my best friends in college, a bright and [...]

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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966), by Robert A. Heinlein This is an engaging science fiction work, one of Heinlein’s more popular books. Along with Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, Heinlein was acclaimed one of the “Big Three” of science fiction. A “loonie,” (one born on the moon) computer programmer-maintenance man, named Manual, [...]

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Stoner (1965), by John Edward Williams A brief commentary by Frank Wilson stimulated me to read the book. More on his thoughts later. The story begins with a two-paragraph recap of his his life—entering the University of Missouri in 1910, receiving his PhD, his acceptance of an instructorship there, his lack of ascension in the [...]

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