Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Turning Pages

What’s on your reading pile?

by Dietrich Kalteis

I read more novels last year than in the past few years, yet my reading stack only grew higher. There are just so many good books, both new releases and ones I never got around to when they were first released, plus there are classics that I like to revisit from time to time.

After finishing Dennis Lehane’s The Drop, which I loved, I wanted more and got hold of World Gone By. Both books are page turners from beginning to end. He’s got such a gritty style and a great voice. The same thing happened after reading Drama City by George Pelecanos, I followed it with Right as Rain, the first in the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series. Another great writer with a hardboiled style, a wonderful storyteller and the start to a top-notch series.

On the classics side I recently read Charles Willeford’s Sideswipe, the third in the Hoke Mosely series, originally published in ’96, and just a classic crime novel. I also reread Norman Mailer’s brilliant war epic The Naked and the Dead, written in ’48 and deservedly touted as one of the best novels of the past century. It’s set on a Japanese-held island during World War Two. Next, I wanted to try something different from Mailer, so I read the noirish thriller Tough Guys Don’t Dance. Mailer is just a master of storytelling, and this one just burns. It’s interesting to note that he also adapted the novel and chose to direct the ’87 film version, starring Ryan O’Neil and Isabella Rossellini.

One more from outside the crime genre, I read Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. She was such a talent, and penned one of the greatest works of fiction ever. And like everybody who ever read and reread To Kill a Mockingbird, I longed for more, so in the end I got my wish. Although the second was actually written before the first, so, it’s not truly a sequel. Suffice to say there are some beautiful nostalgic moments for Jean Louise (Scout), who returns to Macomb County after twenty years. Being a fan of Mockingbird since I was teen, it felt like I was revisiting old friends. Harper Lee was an unequalled talent and just a joy to read. What an inspiration and another highly recommended book.

And I just received an advanced reading copy for John Lansing’s new one The Fourth Gunman. The Jack Bertolino series is a powerful one, and having read Dead is Dead last year, I’ve been waiting for this new one. I just can’t believe nobody’s turned this series into a feature film or mini series yet. Another advanced copy that I just got is Michael Pool’s Texas Two-Step. I’ve read and enjoyed Michael’s previous work, and he’s a very talented writer and another one to watch. 

This year I also aim to read more Canadian novels. And there are so many writers of crime and mystery here that I won’t try to list them for fear of leaving somebody off. However, I did just read a couple of Canadian debuts that are very impressive: Arrow’s Flight by Joel Scott, and Napalm Hearts by Seamus Heffernan. 

I also added a few new ones to my reading stack: Sam Wiebe’s, Cut You Down; along with the latest from Owen Laukkanen, Gale Force. And I picked up Whipped by William Deverell at his last book launch. His Arthur Beauchamp series is simply terrific, and I’ve been hooked on his writing since he penned Needles. Then there are some books I’m looking forward to. The first is a work in progress about a stone-cold female assassin from Linda L. Richards. Linda’s been teasing our Vancouver Noir at the Bar crowds, reading excerpts from this still untitled work for the past year. It’s going to be terrific, one I’m looking forward to seeing in print. And I’m also looking forward to Creep, Rachel Greenaway’s latest in the B.C. Blues Crime series, as well as Elle Wild’s Strange Things Done, Ron Corbett’s Ragged Lake and Michael Clark’s Clean Sweep. And there are more, lots more — but, oh shoot, there I go making that list again.

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