I know I say this in every Ross Thomas review but man, could we use this guy right now.
Take for instance this one Ah, Treachery! which was the last book he completed while he was alive. Thomas is able to do a running commentary on Iran Contra, the boot-shaking fear the military industrial complex had at the Clinton election, and the foibles of American governance all in one nice, neatly-written crime tale with low rent heroes and patriotic villains. And he’s able to do it all without a partisan slant.
Who’s able to write a book like this these days? No one! Or if there is someone, please introduce this person to me post haste.
This one is alternately fun and sad. Fun in a sense that Thomas loves kicking sand in the US Intelligence sandbox of which he is familiar.The whole satirical idea of VOMIT (Victims of Military Intelligence Treachery) was a great running joke until you realize that there probably is a group like this out there (the Valerie Plame’s of the world whose names are mostly unknown to us) because it will always be argued that American imperialism is the means to an end. That means taking lives, innocent lives at any cost.
On second thought, perhaps Thomas wouldn’t be the right person at this time. The rampant cynicism of these past four years, combined with the decline in public institutional trust and shoddy governance means its tougher to lampoon. I guess we need to be in less terrible times in order to make satire great again. At any rate, Thomas’ voice will be missed. This was his last book but I’ve still got more to go in his catalogue.