Friday, September 27, 2013

Pay attention to the Anthony Awards

The Anthony Awards are a group of awards given to the best mystery books of the year at Bouchercon (The World Mystery Convention).  This includes CRIME FICTION.  You can only read so much vintage crime fiction, so for the last two years I have been paying attention to the winners of the Anthony Awards.

I have been concentrating on the winners of best FIRST NOVEL because reading can get a little stale, and it is nice to pick up something new every once in a while.

Last year's winner was Hilary Davidson for The Damage Done, which by now already has three novels in the series (did she already have them written?!?).  After solving the mysterious death of her sister in the first novel, the books follow the story of a travel writer who tends to get into trouble on trips around the world.  The books are a refreshing look at crime fiction, and it's kind of strange to read a crime novel from a woman's perspective.

This year's winner for best first novel was Black Fridays by Michael Sears.  This is a new type of novel for me.  The story revolves around a fresh out of jail former wall street trader hired to dissect a possible fraudulent scheme in an investment bank (is that right?  I don't know much about wall street!).  Once again, it's great to hear a new voice in crime fiction, and the novel is unlike anything I've read in the past.  The secondary character in the story is an autistic boy, which adds another dimension to the story, but at times it does feel a little too much like an autism text book.

So, finding good OLD crime fiction is easy, because everyone has already read it!  But finding new fiction is hard, but the Anthony Awards make it easier.  Pay attention in the future!  Hint:  Lee Child won for Killing Floor in 1998, so you know how I feel!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Never Go Back - Lee Child

I've just finished Never Go Back by Lee Child, and it is the perfect ending to the last three or four Reacher books, which have featured a mysterious female voice on the other end of the phone.  Reacher finally goes back to DC to meet her, and of course, everything has gone crazy.  Reacher gets recalled to the army, and chased all over the US by a mysterious group of men.

Overall the story is a nice mixture of classic Reacher and flashback Army Reacher, both of which I really enjoy.

I've also been reading some supernatural crime fiction, including Dead Harvest by Chris F Holm and Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore.  I've also read The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  Awesome!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What? An actual post?

I've been indulging in a re-read of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson.  I may have mentioned it here before, maybe not.  Either way, it's 8 books, about 2500 pages, and totally worth it.  Historical sci-fi/speculative fiction set in the time of Isaac Newton!  I don't know what to read next.  I'm thinking of the new Dan Brown novel, just because it exists, versus something a little more gritty.

I've also read THE NEXT ONE TO FALL by Hilary Davidson, and I recommend it!  Ok, back to reading.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Demolition Angel - Robert Crais

I haven’t been reading much crime fiction lately since I’ve just finished up reading approximately five thousand pages of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, AKA five Game of Thrones Novels.  I still have not decided if reading all five in succession like that was a good idea or not, but I have 5 years to think about it given the rate he publishes novels in that series.  I think I read one or two crime novels in the meantime, including some Joe Pike and Elvis Cole novels.

That put me in the unusual situation of being completely caught up on Jack Reacher, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, my three favorite protagonists.  I started looking through Robert Crais’ bibliography and found Demolition Angel, starring Carol Starkey, a washed up bomb squad technician.  Also, it was published in 2001, so it has a nice little vintage vibe to it, including pagers and payphones.  This is a great novel which shows Robert Crais really can write a standalone novel.  There are absolutely no references to Elvis or Joe in this novel, but it does take place in the same LA police world that the novels typically occupy.

The feel of the novel is quick paced at the beginning, then backs itself up a little for a few hundred pages, then hits that no turning back point at about one hundred and fifty pages to go.  How do the authors do that?  Do they know that’s all they have left?  Great editing?  I have no idea, but this book really turns it on at the end.  I think i read 180 pages in about two hours to finish the book.

This is a great read, especially if you enjoy the world that Elvis and Joe normally occupy.  Up next is The Moscow Club, Joseph Finder’s first book that was recently re-released.  Apparently the timing of the novel coincided with an unexpected real-life coup in The Kremlin, and the novel put Joe on the map!  Review is forthcoming.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kill Decision - Daniel Suarez

Since my last update, I've read the first two books of the Game of Thrones series, which took almost two months.  The books are vast and incredible, and blow the show out of the water.

The most recent book I've read is Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez.  It is about unmanned aerial drones that are programmed to decide if it is OK to kill the target without human intervention.  There is a cool biology tie-in, and it is a pretty good book after you get through the first 100 pages.  I think Daniel Suarez got a little too into character development, and the book suffered a little for it.

I'm currently reading the Annotated Alice, a copy of Alice in Wonderland that is heavily researched.  It is pretty cool.  I'm anxiously awaiting the release of Lee Child's next book A Wanted Man.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2 months? Too many books

I've been delinquent.  It's bad, I know.  I have been demotivated.  I'm also 75 pages into a terrible book right now, and I'm going to put it down.

Since my last update, I went on a Hemingway kick - To Have and Have Not and The Sun Also Rises.  Neuromancer by William Gibson.  The Watchman and The Last Detective by Robert Crais.  Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski.  Psychosomatic by Anthony Neil Smith (Crazy, and something new and interesting!).  The House of God and Mount Misery by Samuel Shem.  The Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman.

Completely insane.  I've been busy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

LA Requiem - The best novel I've read in a year

Once again, I've been reading too much to post on the vintage crime blog.  Since the last installment, I am now caught up on all of the trade paperbacks of The Walking Dead thanks to a really great sale that my local comic book store Ultimate Comics had.

I also re-read The Confusion by Neal Stephenson, which was SO MUCH BETTER the second time around.  It is shocking to think about how much research Neal Stephenson must do for each of his novels.

And then there is LA Requiem.  This is the best Elvis Cole novel I've read yet, and most likely the best book I have read in a year.  It is a great novel because it has a great story, and also contains the Joe Pike origin story.  If you don't know, Joe Pike is Elvis Cole's partner.  He never says much (I would still like to see Joe Pike meet Jack Reacher by the way), but this tells the story of Joe as a kid and his motivation for becoming who he is.

Honestly, the story is excellent, but it is nearly irrelevant.  The character development that happens in this novel trumps any story that Robert Crais could tell.  I am seriously pumped up about Joe Pike!  Yes, I know he has his own novel, but I am reading all of the Crais in the order it came out.  I'm currently reading The Last Detective, and it is an excellent Elvis Cole novel too!