Wednesday, July 27, 2022

#23: Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon

A mercenary and his loyal dog travel a dystopian near-future (that is struggling to keep up with our real one), working for a crime syndicate.  But he finds his loyalties beginning to shift upon finding out he has a daughter in Dan Chaon's Sleepwalk.

Almost halfway through my goal of reading 50 books this year, Chaon's is already a frontrunner for favorite.  It's a masterful blend of genres, including crime, science fiction, and family drama, with a unique protagonist who has a big heart despite his casual way of killing.

The near-future setting is obliquely referenced, by and large, and mostly focuses on the relationships (and startling bursts of violence).

For readers of genre fiction of any stripe, it's an easy recommendation.  For casual readers, it's chaotic and sardonic and could be quite a surprise.

I read this at breakneck speed and really enjoyed it.  Recommended.

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

Sunday, July 3, 2022

#22: Mad for Kicks by Jack Lynn

Swingin' P.I. Tokey Wedge decides to infiltrate a beatnik gang of rich, disaffected youth out for criminal "kicks" in Jack Lynn's Mad for Kicks.

Jack Lynn was Max Van DerVeer, a mystery writer who also penned "spicy" mysteries under a pen name, though the spice is pretty mild by current standards.  But speaking of current standards, the political and sexual politics as seen in the early 60s really don't jibe with beliefs today, and should be noted before reading.

As far as the storytelling, I was surprised to find this outing markedly more sober and less jokey than the first, Nympho Lodge, reading like a straight-on b-level private eye novel, and very readable (despite a lot of editing mistakes).

This is the second in a new line of reprints of the hard-to-find Tokey Wedge books by Grizzly Pulp, who sent me this one for review.  Good for fans of the genre.