Wednesday, November 28, 2018

#48: The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem

A high-strung New Yorker--left adrift in the wake of the recent presidential election--decides to head to California and look for a friend's missing daughter, only to land in the middle of a war between desert tribes, in Jonathan Lethem's The Feral Detective.

Lethem is seen as more of a mainstream literary author, but his novels often have genre beats, from Amnesia Moon to Motherless Brooklyn to The Fortress of Solitude.  This one riffs on detective novels, as the "feral detective" of the title helps our narrator, as she slowly learns he has a hidden backstory that ties directly into what is happening in the desert. 

A grisly discovery about a third of the way into the book catapults the novel from romp to noir, and a nail-biting finale involving a rusty Ferris Wheel satisfies.

Lethem writes a cut above the genre and can be read across all interests.  I enjoyed this tremendously and would read another if he returned to this world.  Recommended.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana, and read it quickly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

#47: Death and the Saloon Girl by Frank Leslie

At the bequest of the sheriff's daughter, The Revenger goes looking for two missing lawmen and a delivery of gold in Frank Leslie's Death and the Saloon Girl.

Leslie is actually western author Peter Brandvold, a prolific writer with a stable of western series characters.  The Revenger throws back to the "Adult Western" genre, where our hero beds women as quickly and steadily as he guns down owlhoots.

Western readers will find pretty much everything they like here, and it moves at a quick pace.

Brandvold sent me this novel, which was part of a double with A Bullet for Sartain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

#46: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

In this fourth outing, private eye Cormoran Strike and his loyal partner Robin juggle several cases, starting with a mental patient who thinks he saw a murder, in Robert Galbraith's Lethal White.

Galbraith was outed as J.K. Rowling a while ago, but continues to present these crime novels under the Galbraith name, and it's a good thing--these tough stories are not for young adult readers.

Lethal White is also not a good jumping off point for new readers, as it picks up about an hour after the end of Career of Evil, where Robin was on the brink of a disastrous marriage.  The aftershocks of this consume a big chunk of this novel, and your interest in this plotline will influence how you feel about the novel as a whole.

I found this to be a mild entry in the series, although a good audiobook read by Robert Glenister adds value.  I checked it out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

#45: November Road by Lou Berney

In 1963, a loyal crime family member leaves a car near the Texas Book Depository for his boss, and as national events unfold over the next few days finds himself on the run in Lou Berney's November Road.

Lou Berney's novel is striking in that it is a very hard-boiled noir--as the gangster picks up a runaway housewife and her kids, all while a ruthless hitman gets closer and closer--but also plays out every Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory straight-faced, sweeping up John, Bobby, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Ruby, and others.

Berney presents a genuinely offbeat but very readable thriller, which I enjoyed and consumed quickly.  Recommended.

I borrowed this from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.