How much does it suck when you read two books concurrent with one another by authors you normally like…and they turn out to be complete duds? I took time to write this review after finishing both books to wonder if it was just me. Nope. Both were not good and very close to bad.
The Wounded and the Slain
There are good ideas in this David Goodis noir tale: ideas about marriage, accountability, colonialism, loss, sense of place and justice. But they’re buried underneath Goodis’ inability to really develop either of these characters. Slim noir volumes have their place and Goodis is great at them but he gives both characters a heavy burden and then makes the reader wonder why we should care, only to layer on some back story at random spots in an attempt to make us care. Needless to say, the attempt fails. I wonder if Hard Case Crime was able to get their hands on this one because it’s of lesser quality than the rest of Goodis’ work. His books are so tough to find.
I love Murph and the Asphalt Warrior series so much. Rarely have I found a character to which I can relate to more. It’s heartbreaking to rate this one so low, especially when Gary Reilly is a small press writer. But man, this one, especially compared to the rest of the series, is no good. This case is one instance where Murph needed to listen to Big Al for a change and not get involved. There’s something creepy about a guy following around 18-year old women to try and save them. Murph has never been a Messianic figure and there’s no reason to start now. Reilly clearly has an axe to grind with hippies and the commune movement of the 60s. That’s fine, I just wish he had done it somewhere else. This is far and away the most disappointing of what is otherwise a fun series.