Saturday, January 21, 2023

#3: An Honest Living by Dwyer Murphy

The world of rare book collecting makes a surprising beat for a private investigator in early 2000s New York, in Dwyer Murphy's debut noir An Honest Living.

In true noir fashion, a mysterious woman (who isn't all she seems) sends our tarnished angel protagonist on the prowl for some possibly stolen works, only to stumble onto a much larger scheme.

Murphy hits all of the noir beats spot on, but also brings echoes of literary fiction to the proceedings in a remarkably sure-handed way.  

Clever and highly readable throughout and probably my first recommendation for 2023.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

#2: The It Girl by Ruth Ware

April and Hannah are Oxford roommates, one vivacious and fun and one more serious; when the former is murdered by a staff member in the dorm, the terrible case seems open and shut.  But ten years later, after the man's death in prison, evidence points in a different direction in Ruth Ware's The It Girl.

Hannah, the surviving roommate, has married her college sweetheart and is expecting a baby; but that doesn't deter her from teaming up with Hannah's younger sister and going back to find their old friend group a decade later.

Very solid mystery, told in alternating chapters set in the past and the present, with lots of twists and turns and puzzle pieces locking into place.  

Ware is one of my favorite contemporary writers because she doesn't ever write the same book twice and dabbles in a lot of mystery subgenres.  This one satisfies down to the last surprise.

I listened to a good audiobook read on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana.

Friday, January 6, 2023

#1: The Next Time I Die by Jason Starr

 A good-hearted but hard-luck lawyer with a spiraling personal life intervenes in a mugging, only to wake up in a better world where he has been a worse person in Jason Starr's The Next Time I Die.

Starr writes a classic unreliable narrator noir with a parallel worlds twist.  Much like a previous work, Cold Caller, things go from bad to worse to murderous as the lawyer tries to untangle himself from the mess another version of himself got him into.

Starr writes a breakneck genre-bender that doubles down on the nihilism towards the end, making it an offbeat work.  This novel came out through the Hard Case Crime line, a reliable source of reading materials for quite a few years.

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

Monday, January 2, 2023

Top Reads of 2022

 I didn't quite make my goal of reading 50 books in 2022, what with my beloved dog dying, a health scare, my son's wedding, shooting a new movie, and a new granddaughter (I think in that order), but a handful I did read that I can recommend to anybody.


 SLEEPWALK by Dan Chaon

THE HEAP by Sean Adams


Enjoy!  Hope you find something to like.