Read as part of CBR14 Bingo: cozy. The main character is a narcoleptic and his body frequently drags him off into a deep, cozy sleep.
It’s clear that I need to read more of Paul Tremblay’s work. While I didn’t love The Pallbearer’s Club, I enjoyed Tremblay’s writing style. He came across as accessible and fun, someone I could easily digest while providing enough pathos for his protagonists to feel like they are more than literary ciphers.
I grabbed this on a lark in a bookstore, knowing that it was an early Tremblay novel and a satire of the hardboiled PI genre. As I’ve written about before, I’m not a fan of most satire as I’m too literal minded. But as I said, I liked Tremblay’s writing so I tried it.
Perhaps this is satirical on one level but Tremblay’s humor is muted. There is a touch of it but mostly, one feels for the stumbling, bumbling narcoleptic Mark Genevich. Much like Lionel Essrog in Motherless Brooklyn, Genevich’s debilitating condition seems like hell and he has to struggle through it in order to solve a rather intricate political mystery involving a Boston DA with connections to none other than Whitey Bulger, and his daughter, who happens to be a star on an American Idol type show.
There’s a surrealist aspect as neither the reader nor Mark knows what’s real and what’s hallucinatory but Tremblay is able to steady the narrative because he knows how to ape Chandler in the best ways. There are similes but they don’t go over-the-top. There’s tough guy dialogue but it’s always spoken through the mouth of a true sad sack. It’s quite a tribute to Chandler, better than most, and the narcolepsy bit feels less like a gimmick (which I assumed it was) and more like the centrifuge that spins the story.
One of my favorite crime tales this year, I’m fast becoming a fan of Tremblay’s work.