With Nick Kepler set to return next month (Northcoast Shakedown, the original, is first up), it’s time to shift my focus to crime. It’s been a while since I regularly read crime. I do want to finish the Jack Taylor series by the great Ken Bruen (who supplies the name of a character in Holland Bay.) But I haven’t read PI fiction in a long time. Or noir.
A couple weeks ago, I finished up the latest commissioned Phillip Marlowe novel, Only to Sleep, which has a 73-year-old Marlowe prowling Mexico in 1988. The last Marlowe I read was Poodle Springs, started by Raymond Chandler and finished by his biggest fan, Robert B. Parker. I read that one about four years ago.
Part of the reason I haven’t read any since then is that the PI is one of those story types that, when done write, can be the height of literary fiction. (I really hope Jonathan Franzen reads this. And that his head exploding is uploaded to YouTube.) But too often, it’s repetitious and dull, retreads of Marlowe and Spenser.
But between listening to music memoirs and the odd history or expose and trying to get through Neal Asher’s Brass Man (reading print and Kindle has become a challenge of late), I’ve been adding crime. Up first is the true story of the girl who inspired Nabakov’s Lolita. Sarah Weinman’s The Real Lolita (appropriately titled) tells the story of the 11-year-old girl upon whom the novel is based. It’s a tragic tale, based in fact, and more lurid than the novel and movie. I also have Megan Abbott’s Take My Hand, which I started before realizing The Real Lolita and Robert Woodward’s Fear both dropped today. I had just finished Noel Hunt’s Van Halen memoir (Spoiler alert: Eddie and Alex are highly talented assholes), so I didn’t get too deep into the Megan Abbott book. It’s up after the Lolita book.
But I also need to change the sight. Already, I’ve changed the cover photo from something space themed to something a bit more genre neutral. It’s actually a moonrise over Put in Bay just after sunset. That can be Tian’s Mercury-sized moon rising over Metropolis, the planet’s second largest city (which I have yet to write about in the Compact Universe) or the Florida Keys.
And at some point, I have to finish Brass Man. I have Ancillary Justice on deck.