Anytime I finish a tome (in this case, Don DeLillo’s Underworld), I tend to binge read in order to get back in the swing of things. Here are three books I picked up over the weekend…
The Blackbird ***
Someone asked on Twitter recently that if you could take three traits from a writer for yourself, what would they be? I should have mentioned Donald Westlake’s amazing versatility. Just consider the Grofield series: first a heist tale, then a locked room mystery, now a spy thriller, each better than the last. I enjoyed this one immensely. Westlake knew how to have fun with a story.
Dead Connection ***
After the first third of this book, I almost quit. Just felt like a rote mystery read with bland characters.
And then the first twist dropped…to be followed by several more.
So I pressed on and I’m glad I read it. Though the dialogue frustrates at times, Alafair Burke knows how to write a story. It was tough to connect with the characters but I eventually became invested in what was happening. Still gets docked a star for wooden dialogue and a boring villain but I’ll definitely be checking out the others in the series. This was a fun Manhattan mystery.
The Silver Swan ***
I never know what to make of John Banville’s (aka Benjamin Black) books. He’s such a talented writer and I love the first 66% of them but then they fall apart. His characters and settings are both so vivid and his plotting seems strong until it’s not. Reading him is like going to a fancy restaurant where the drinks are great, the service is excellent, the decor of high class…and the food terrible despite its lovely presentation.
This is another that loses steam near the end but is also better than most mystery fic I read. I don’t know what to do with him except to keep reading and grousing, I guess.