I love James Ellroy’s writing…most of the time. With White Jazz, he went too far into incoherence, but LA Confidential is still on of my favorite books of all time. But one of the things I hate in genre fiction is the prequel (and not just because of George Lucas). With a prequel (especially in crime fiction), you start losing people who’s lives you can threaten. You know that Dudley Smith won’t be severely injured or killed because he’s still around in the future. You also know the future of the characters. The book starts being more of a spot-the-reference game than a story. So it was with these worries that I started reading James Ellroy’s latest LA novel Perfidia.
Just so there is no confusion, this review is of the latest Dexter novel, not the final season of the TV show. I’ve only seen season 1 of the TV show, so I don’t have any opinions on the rest of the seasons of the show. Now as for the book, I wasn’t happy with Dexter’s Final Cut, especially the ending. It wasn’t as bad as Dexter in the Dark, but that’s not much to be proud of (that book was really bad). This book takes Dexter out of his element for most of the novel and puts him in contact with some other narcissistic people who learn to hide their true self, actors. Dexter’s on the movie set and helping out, but it’s not quite what he envisioned.
In the first novel of the series, Clean (my review), we met Adam, the level 8 telepath who was kicked out of the Guild and now makes his living as an interrogator for the police. The Guild doesn’t trust him outside the Guild since they worry about him telling Guild secrets and the police worry that he’s secretly siding with the Guild. In the sequel, Sharp, Adam must confront the people he hurt directly on his way out of the Guild. Alex Hughes has created an interesting, flawed character that presents a lot of wonderful story telling opportunities. Let’s see what happened.
Let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way first, Red Planet Blues is a fantastic title (and Sawyer has discussed where it came from). The book is in my favorite mashup of genres, science fiction mystery. The book has a very Heinlein feel with the setting and cast of characters, but it is definitely a Sawyer book. I enjoyed it until the ending, which dragged on longer than it should have, but still liked it overall. Let’s check it out.
Austin Grossman (twin brother to The Magicians author Lev Grossman) might not have the critical acclaim that his brother does, but his novels are interesting and, in many ways, better than his brother. His first novel, Soon I Will Be Invincible(my review), was a wonderful story of a supervillian. For his new book, the confusingly titled You, Grossman takes us behind the scenes in the history of a video game company. Let’s check out what it’s about.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite sub-genres is the science fiction mystery. I love the interplay between the gritty detective story and the fabulous future. But it’s not always a fabulous future. In Alex Hughes new book, Clean, the world has gone through some wars and is slowly getting better. The technology is not trusted and now there is a serial killer who might be protected by the powerful Telepath’s Guild. It’s an interesting premise and one that mostly delivers. Let’s see what happens.
I’ve been a fan of James Lileks for years, although I’ve rarely read any of his newspaper stuff. His daily personal blog, The Bleat is appointment reading (especially now that he has the RSS feed working) and I loved his podcast The Diner(currently on hiatus). Lileks is best described as an archaeologist of recent public culture with his loving of the ephemera of the early-mid 1900s. He has pages dedicated to old postcards or matchbooks. He gives an amusing and interesting look at our recent past that many people simply ignore. So, when Lileks announced that he was writing a mystery trilogy, I was interested. The first book in that trilogy is now available and I loved Graveyard Special. Let’s see what it’s about.