Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still reading

These are the books I have read over the past couple of weeks:

The Black Ice by Michael Connelly: The second Harry Bosch novel finds the detective looking into the apparent suicide of a fellow officer who had been investigating the appearance of a new drug on the street scene called "black ice." Superiors want the investigation wrapped up as soon as possible, but the more Bosch digs, the more mysteries he finds that lead him south of the border for the final confrontation. This was an excellent and multi-layered story, unpeeling like layers of an onion. Connelly is an excellent storyteller, and he is patient enough to let the story develop at its own pace, with believable characters and a well designed plot. (amazon.com link)

Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain: This sequel to Heartsick finds painkiller addicted homicide detective Archie Sheridan trying to reconcile with his ex-wife and staying away from Gretchen Lowell, the serial killer who nearly killed him. Enthralled with another case, Sheridan is shocked when Lowell escapes from prison, and he knows that he can be the only one to bring her back to justice. While the plot of this novel was pretty convoluted and a little too diffuse to pack a true wallop, Cain still shows her talent for characterization and that saves this book from becoming a melodramatic thriller by the numbers. Lowell is a Hannibal Lecter type, brilliant but twisted, and Sheridan is the drug addled, broken marriage cop from central casting, but the uneasy energy that Cain supplies between the two of them overcomes the conceits of the narrative and make it enjoyable. (amazon.com link)

Bad Chili by Joe R. Lansdale: When I saw that Lansdale had dedicated this book to one of my favorite authors, Andrew Vachss, I knew it was going to be a good one. This is another book in the fascinating Hap and Leonard series, where the two friends stumble into a series of misadventures. In this case, Leonard's heartsickness leads him to breakup a biker bar with a baseball bat and shotgun, and in the aftermath the boys find themselves on the up to their eyeballs in black market smut and oil which the bikers were scheming. The key to the Hap and Leonard series is the vulgar humor and it is on display here, with the boys busting each others and the crooks chops with every opportunity. There characters and their frank dialogue make this a very memorable story. (amazon.com link)

Send comments to: Tim