Thursday, March 26, 2009

LibraryThing Early Reviewers: The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay

The Little Sleep is one of the most enjoyable and refreshing crime noir / mystery / private eye novels I've read in years. The story focuses in on one Mark Genevich, a South Boston ("southie") PI with one very large problem. He is a narcoleptic... falling asleep at the most inappropriate of time and even hallucinating on occasion. The Little SleepWhen a minor local celebrity comes in and hires Mark to track down the meaning of some scandalous photos, Mark's world is turn upside down and he quickly learns that the past does not always stay dead.

Genevich is an amazingly "real guy" sort of guy. It's wonderful to read about a detective who is not all... "I have a 210 I.Q. and am knowledgeable about everything from classical architecture to medieval literature to particle accelerators. Please pass the rutabagas." Mark is human to a fault and it constantly proving it.

Tremblay's writing is also constantly intriguing. The pace of the novel, once set, rarely lets up and in any other time of my life, would have read this book in two days flat. Also, his anthropomorphic descriptions are always making me chuckle. As exemplified in the following passage, when Mark walks into his office after it has been ransacked:

"My flat screen computer monitor is not quite flat anymore and is on the floor, where my client chair used to be. That chair is huddled in the corner of the room, licking it's wounds. It saw everything and is traumatized. It'll never be the same."(pg.101-2 arc.)

That's just one small example in a book filled with everyday imagery that is brought to life through the author's unique writing. I sincerely hope that we will see more of Paul Trembly's work soon.

"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." Abraham Lincoln (in a book review of his own) (1809-1865)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

LibraryThing Early Reviewers: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Patient Zero is a non-stop, don't let go, intense combination of cutting edge science (fiction... for now) and the hack and slash you'd expect from a top notch horror/thriller. Featuring former Boston PD detective Joe Ledger and his new team recruited into a super secret task force by a super secret branch of the military on a world wide hunt for bio-terrorists and their undead plague.

This book was extremely well done. From the start, the science was engaging and mostly believable, even to a biology major. I love the zombie "genre" as much as the next guy, but it was refreshing to have it treated to somewhat realistic observations and plausibilities.

The characterization was quite well done also. While it's almost inevitable these days for any "action heroes" to be typified, Ledger and his team pull of the trick of being intelligent and believable at the same time they're kicking ass. Only one of the characters (a female scientist/terrorist) came off as grossly overwritten and stereotypical.

I was indeed disappointed to see this book end (even if it did take me over a month to finish, mea culpa, LT; I blame school) and will be anxiously awaiting a new Ledger novel, which I believe is already in the works.

"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." Abraham Lincoln (in a book review of his own) (1809-1865)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

LibraryThing Early Reviewers: The Mystic Art Of Erasing All Signs Of Death by Charlie Huston

A fantastic and refreshing noir mystery from Huston, The Mystic Arts Of Erasing All Signs Of Death is the first novel that I have read in a couple of months, where I just don't want to put it down. Neither work, nor pending university finals stopped me from reading this one.

The main character, Web, is not your typical protagonist. After quitting his job teaching and slumming around for a year, his ever patient friend and roommate has finally convinced Web to get a job; working for a crime scene cleanup service. And that's when Web's life gets interesting.

As the story progresses, the reader uncovers the back story behind the Web's personality issues and the reason for his being such a tool to everyone he knows. It's not easy to like the guy, but one does develop some sympathy over time.

Huston writes with such realism that I have not really ever encountered. His character's speech is just so... human. Sentences trail off when the character is at a loss of words. Sentence fragments pepper the narrative when complete thoughts are obviously unneeded. People act like real people (for the most part). My one beef with his writing is the lack of quotation marks, the classical indication for when someone is speaking. Huston only uses a "-" mark to detonate speech. That and the complete lack of "he said", "Gabe muttered", or "So Pin bellowed", to demonstrate who is talking. During conversations, I often found myself going back an re-reading a passage to figure out who is speaking, having to rely on action cues to figure it out. Not so easy when I first started this novel, but as I worked my way through, I became more used to it.

All in all, this a wonderfully quick and entertaining story, filled with intensely evocative scenes and brilliant (if graphic) imagery. I will most definitely be looking to read more of Huston's work soon. (8/10)

"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." Abraham Lincoln (in a book review of his own) (1809-1865)