For the first time, I’m reviewing two books at once! Fortunately, both were solid 4-star reviews so I guess I don’t have to note that.
I read Generation Loss, the first book in the Cass Neary series over the summer and it absolutely knocked me off my feet. I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect that. I think it goes to show how the idea of having to “root for a character” in order to be invested is a crock of crap. Cass Neary is a total misanthrope and not in an endearing way. Yet Elizabeth Hand is such a quality writer whose tales are full of emotional depth that I find myself getting wrapped up in her story.
This one is a slightly lesser work than the first in the series, if only because the ending dragged out way too long. But it’s still a quality mystery novel. Hand imbues the story with the richly cold, depressing atmosphere of sunless Finland and Iceland. By the end of it, I wanted to take a shower and blast the heat in my house. Cass maneuvers through the underworld of artistic photography and while I would never want to encounter these folks in real life, I find their fictionalized versions to be fascinating. What a great writer Elizabeth Hand is.
Home For the Holidays
The fourth book in the Asphalt Warrior series could not be more tonally different from the other one I’m reviewing. It’s as close to a cozy mystery as I ever read. Here, it’s not even really a mystery but it does answer some questions as to Murph’s background and that was fun.
Instead of the familiar Denver terrain, this book jaunts over to Wichita, Kansas so Murph, against his better judgment, could spend time with his family for Christmas. As usual, this book reeks of a charmingly humanist bend, but not in a way that assaults the senses (as opposed to The Gentleman From Moscow) I think it’s because I relate to Murph so much, especially regarding his unapologetic slacker mentality, that I enjoy going on these lighthearted journeys with him. It’s almost as if Michael Schur wrote a “mystery” novel, only with less satire/edge and more introspection (reluctant though Murph may be to introspect). I love these books.