Archive for the ‘crime/mystery fiction’ Category

Theme Thursday: Mystery   6 comments

I love mysteries.  I love hard-boiled detective fiction, whodunits, and campy mysteriocomedies.  Gimme all if it, Miss Marple, Peter Death Bredon Whimsey, Sam Spade, Elvis Cole, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Hieronymous Bosch, Travis McGee, Irwin Maurice Fletcher, Francis Xavier Flynn, Philip Marlowe, I could go on and on and on… in novel form or short story, on the little screen or deep in the bowels of a dark cinema.  The kids are into the original Scooby Doo episodes right now, and as campy and silly as they are, it’s been a good lead-in to explaining to Jack what that big chunk of brown- and blue-bound books are and why he wants to read them…

I read those Hardy Boys books, from The Tower Treasure to The Sting of the Scorpion (all 58 stories) before I started third grade, most of the first 38 in the original runs prior to the re-writes.  I still have most of them, having survived the cycle of being loaned out to, and returned from, avid younger readers.  I’m looking forward to reading Jack those crazy cliff-hanger end-of-chapter pages!

As cheesy as the television series was at times, it still had that late-70s trend towards awesome intros.  Orson, you da man.

Thursday Themes (N+1)   2 comments

Yesterday’s theme was books.  Ann and Meg both blogged accordingly.

Both of my sisters are currently living in housing arrangements that don’t give them quite enough space to adequately reflect what their book collections should be, given how often they read.  Those people that follow Meg and Ann on the blogosphere may be interested to know what the literary environment would look like, if they were given a bit more elbow room.

We’re not too far apart, so you can get an idea by looking at shots from my house (keep in mind, my house is way, way too small for me and mine, so what you’re seeing here is actually *condensed*).  Click for title-readable views…

just north of the entry door

bookshelf number 1: just north of the entry door - books for the yonkers

just north of bookshelf 1

bookshelf number 2: just north of bookshelf 1

That’s the Great Books series there.  Moving on into the office:

east wall of the office

bookshelf number 3: east wall of the office

All fantasy/scifi – I brought this into the marriage.  Next office wall is overflow (plus some DVDs):

south wall of the office

bookshelf number 4: south wall of the office

Now we move on into the bedroom, this is just to the left of the door…

mostly classics

bookshelf number 5: mostly classics

And we can’t forget Kitty’s nightstand…

not a bookshelf, but has books

not a bookshelf, but has books

And then there’s the wall o’ books on the east wall of the bedroom…

bookshelves 5, 6, and sort of 7... about 64% Kitty's stuff

bookshelves 5, 6, and sort of 7... about 64% Kitty

The “corner’ piece there is overpacked.  You have do dig through two layers of books to get to the back on at least one shelf…

yes, this is tragic and wrong

yes, this is tragic and wrong

And then you zip down the hall to the kid’s room and see “books for the kids that they’re not quite old enough to have yet” here…

bookshelf 8, Harry Potter on the bottom shelf

bookshelf 8, Harry Potter on the bottom shelf

And then there’s two other bookshelves crammed into a corner…

bottom shelf is admittedly just magazines

bottom shelf is admittedly just magazines

yep, one more!

yep, one more!

As you can see, Kitty and I *really* need a house with more wall space.  It’s not just me, it’s HER too!! Heck, if I changed jobs we’d have another two bookshelves (at least) worth of my technical library (from one office) and assorted books (from the other)…

Of course, even combined, we’re not as bad as someone else we know… yes, that catalog includes over 11,000 books..

And Now… a Warning   2 comments

I’ve noticed that Megan has added a regular feature to her blog – a sidebar section called “Mcgeeisms”, with a quote from one of the Travis books. I’ve noticed as well that the quote has changed with about the regularity I would expect if Megan was undergoing a literary task I myself underwent about 8 years ago… reading all of the Travis McGee books in a block.

She’s on Dress Her in Indigo, which is halfway through the series chronologically.  I don’t know if she’s actually reading them in order, or just in the order in which they sit on her bookshelf (Megan is not quite as overly organized as I have been accused of being when it comes to things like books, movies, CDs… etc).

Meg, I hope you’re throwing some other things in there, and not just reading Travis. If you are, by the time you get to A Tan and Sandy Silence (or 13 books in, if you’re just reading them in no particular order) you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed by a melancholy period that lasts for about 3 months.

Throw some Carl Hiaasen in there, to cut it.

Posted June 24, 2008 by padraic2112 in books, crime/mystery fiction, family

On the Nightstand – The Watchman   2 comments

Spoiler warning: I won’t reveal much of anything you shouldn’t already know about Pike from this book, but if you haven’t read any of the Elvis Cole books, there are series spoilers in this post.

Finished it last night. Apparently Robert Crais was at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and my sister, God bless her, picked up a copy and had him sign it… one reason to stick to paper instead of e-books! My sister said that Crais was enthusiastic to get a request for a personalized signature, apparently most people want a generic John Hancock to give them an e-Bayable item. Idiots. Thanks for the present, Megan, I loved it.

On the whole, I liked it immensely. I’ve always liked Joe Pike, and have been particularly fond of the fact that Mr. Crais has successfully written him into a number of Elvis Cole books without ruining him – a character like Pike would be *so* easy to screw up and turn one-dimensional, playing second fiddle to Elvis. Eleven books in, and instead the trickle of insights into Pike have come at a steady, even pace (until this book, of course) fleshing out the character instead of bleaching him. I also think that switching to Pike from Elvis as the primary mover of the story was brilliant given the events of The Forgotten Man. I was worried that Crais was going to crash the series and put out a “Elvis has an incredibly introspective recovery from being shot” book, and cutting the perspective over to Pike enabled Crais to continue the story of the pair without waxing melodramatic. I’ve been impressed with the Elvis/Pike books’ balance of character development with “action-fiction” story speed, this book delivers on that balance as well. Yay!

Of course, as a fan of the entire Elvis series, I’m dying to know how Mr. Cole’s personal life has progressed after The Forgotten Man, because I like Starkey better than Chenier, but I can handle the wait.

My one small complaint about this book is that a bit too much time (albeit a tiny amount of time) was devoted to talking about Pike’s relationship with his abusive father; it’s the first time I thought Crais was a little lazy in his writing. Not that this was unexpected (it’s been pretty obvious through the past 10 books that Pike has issues), but there were a couple of paragraphs that simply weren’t interesting (standard boilerplate “My father beat me” stuff), and one scene that would actually have been more powerful if it hadn’t been linked to Pike’s abusive father. It’s a pretty minor complaint, however… Crais makes up for it by spending the lion’s share of flashbacking talking about Pike’s relationship with Bud Flynn, which was more revealing into Pike’s character anyway.

I wonder if the choice of “Flynn” as a patronymic was a nod to McDonald’s F.X. Flynn, a charcter I like much more than the commercially popular Fletch.

Posted May 7, 2007 by padraic2112 in books, crime/mystery fiction

On the Nightstand – Two Minute Rule   1 comment

Robert Crais. Like most of the Elvis Cole books, it moves. I’m a big fan of this particular style of crime fiction. Not as gritty as Michael Connelly. Not as disturbing as Minette Walters. Not as soul-numbingly depressing as John D. MacDonald. Not as funny as Carl Hiaasen.

But, all four of those things, in an excellent blend. Can’t wait for Joe Pike to come out in paperback.

Posted March 28, 2007 by padraic2112 in books, crime/mystery fiction