Starting in September, I’ve resolved to read at least one Hard Case Crime novel per month. I collect Hard Case Crime books as a hobby, though there are getting harder and harder to find in used book stores. I always enjoy reading them but I sort of take it for granted that I can do so at anytime; knowing they’ll always be there. I had to force myself to read Casino Moon last month in order to check off a library bingo square. It wound up being one of my favorite reads of the year. And it made me realize that I need to make a plan to get into more of my HCC books.
Losers Live Longer is first up, mostly because it’s an East Village tale and the East Village is my favorite neighborhood in New York City. Yet while the locale is fun and well-described, I didn’t enjoy this one too much. Atwood is a gifted writer but he packs way too much into what is supposed to be a compact mystery. Characters drop in and out, plots are easily resolved, the PI gets hit on the head one too many times. And that it takes place in the span of a day makes the pacing almost impossible. It’s a mess.
It’s a fun mess. There is a plot buried in there that would make for decent reading. Another draft or two may have helped Russell Atwood pull it out of there. But this is one of the weaker HCC novels I’ve read. Still enjoyed it as I enjoy most HCC novels but can’t recommend it.