I finished two different crime novels over the last couple of days, one written by a novice, the other by a legend, both really good in their own respective ways.
Hipster Death Rattle
I’ve become more familiar with north Brooklyn the last couple of months and boy, does Richie Narvaez know ever corner and haunt. A delightful skewering of hipster culture set right in the middle of Williamsburg, Gentrification’s Ground Zero, the book is as much a satire as it is a mystery. Some of the moments were really funny and while I wasn’t quite sure what Narvaez was doing with all the pieces, he made them fit by the end in a satisfying way. Its characters are a little thin, even for satire and it doesn’t need as many red herrings as it has. But it’s a good effort and I hope Narvaez writes more full-length novels.
A Touch of Death
I had read zero words written by Charles Williams before this one, but I’d already digested two or three articles lauding him as a great, underrated crime novelist. Finally decided to check him out for the monthly Hard Case Crime. This one starts out as a readable if unoriginal crime thriller and then morphs into a psychological suspense thriller that’s noir as hell. A lot of male-written post-WWII crime fiction was written with male impotency undergirding the tale. This one has it too but in a more claustrophobic way. It messes with the lead’s head in the same way it messes with the readers. A little too much exposition but a good read, nonetheless. I can see why people like Williams.