Thursday, February 08, 2007

It seems you can't mention Raymond Chandler without also talking about James M. Cain, and since I love Chandler, I decided it was high time I checked him out. The Postman Always Rings Twice was the first one I picked to read and it won't be my last. It's a swift moving story of a drifter who lucks into a job at a rest stop where he begins an affair with the wife of the owner and soon is conspiring with her to kill her husband. So far I prefer Chandler (how can you not love Marlowe?), but I'm still looking forward to reading some more of Cain's books.

I've been meaning to read Jess Walter's books for a while now, but finally got around to them this past weekend when I raced through Over Tumbled Graves. There's an obvious Ridley Pearson comparison to be made, especially in the romantic subplot between two detectives, but there are definitely worse writers to bring to mind. It was funny and thrilling and I didn't even have time to speculate about the identity of the killer because I was so caught up in the action. I'm so happy to discover another good mystery writer!

I read The Queen Of Cool by Cecil Castellucci on the bus ride home earlier this week. It's a cute, but not terribly deep, book about what happens when the most popular girl in school suddenly realizes she's bored with her friends and her life and with being unhappy. She impulsively signs up for an extra credit science internship at the zoo and slowly discovers her true self.

The reason why I finally checked out Jess Walter is because I picked up Land Of The Blind for $1 at the SF library book sale, but it was a sequel and I hate reading books out of order. While Over Tumbled Graves was an above average mystery, Land Of The Blind was even better. A man who won't give his name is brought in to the police station and says he needs to confess to a murder that hasn't been discovered yet. He refuses to say who is dead, but begins writing his confession. We get this confession, which begins all the way back with the bullies at his elementary school bus stop, interspersed with a burnt out Detective Caroline Mabry just trying to keep it together while she looks for who it is he murdered. Along the way we get a fascinating portrait of Spokane as a city where everyone has one foot out the door. It was fantastic and I can't wait to read his other books.

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