Wednesday, October 24, 2018

#44: Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin

A man hiding from a drug cartel takes a job as a caretaker at a remote, mountainous wildlife preserve; but when bear poachers start creeping onto the land and challenging him and the balance of nature, he is gradually drawn back into a violent world in James A. McLaughlin's Bearskin.

Bearskin is a very tough crime novel in an unusual rustic setting, but the "tarnished angel" antihero is straight out of the mean streets of noir. 

Terse writing, and plenty of shades of gray, make this a compelling read throughout. Madness, revenge, redemption, all the hallmarks of hard-boiled classics, are on display.

I enjoyed McLaughlin's novel tremendously and will look for more from him.  Recommended.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library and read it quickly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

#43: Severance by Ling Ma

During a pandemic, a young woman at a publishing house is offered a bonus to keep the New York office open, and continues to do so even as people and infrastructure evaporate around her in Ling Ma's Severance.

Severance is a literate post-apocalyptic story, following three separate snapshots in time.  We see before the pandemic, as our protagonist navigates being young and hip and finding her soulmate in New York; during, as her office life becomes more surreal; and after, when she reluctantly joins a caravan heading for a perhaps mythical sanctuary as told by a maybe crazy former IT guy turned evangelical prophet.  There is also a dash of her arrival as a child from China, with immigrant parents.

This story engages on all levels and works across multiple genres.  Enjoyable throughout and recommended for general readers, but post-apocalyptic fans in particular.  Recommended.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana and read it quickly.

Monday, October 1, 2018

#42: Parade by Shuichi Yoshida

Four twentysomethings watch the world swirl around their Tokyo apartment in Shuichi Yoshida's Parade.

First the roomies think something strange is going on in the next apartment, and then we learn women are getting attacked in the neighborhood.  These stories unfold slowly, from each roommates' point of view. 

Unfortunately the first mystery unravels rather unceremoniously, and the second takes a sharp left turn in the last pages of the book.  Both are pretty low-wattage and didn't do much for me.

However, as a portrait of largely disaffected young people and their various entanglements, I was interested throughout.  Billed more as a thriller, it is really a slice of life story.  If that is of interest, I would seek Yoshida out.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana.