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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin

To lead with an apology would be traditional, but I make no excuse for having better things to do than tell you all how much I enjoyed this novel. I've been gorging on televisual box sets including but not limited to Bones, Defiance, Hannibal, and Breaking Bad, a series I had promised not to watch until the furore had died down. 

Whilst that has nothing to do whatsoever with this novel, other than to have driven from my brain all thoughts of plot, structure, narrative and writerly panache, I can't simply dive in to a review now can I?

Based on a real-life unsolved murder spree from 1918-19, and not the first novel to bear this title, this historical detective story revolves around a pariah cop who turned state's evidence against his partner, who in turn gets out of prison to resume working for the New Orleans Mafia just as his ex-colleague is being offered up as scapegoat in the continuing failure to catch or stop the serial killer running around chopping up Italian greengro…

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

Grudgingly, I have included the definite article to the title of this post. My 2005 uncorrected proof copy, sublime in its pure off-whiteness with embossed gilt lettering omitted the 'The' and, in my opinion, better suited the content. For whilst it is a chronicle of folly, specifically those of Nathan Glass, his nephew Tom Wood, neice Aurora, and the neighbouring denizens of Brooklyn, New York, I suspect there are many more that escape un-chronicled. 

But first, the usual detritus of contextualisation. Having tucked away D. B. C. Pierre's Lights Out in Wonderland, itself a story of outrageous folly, pinioned throughout by the protagonist-narrator's desire to commit suicide, the opening line of this book, always a winner when penned by Auster, struck me as contiguous:
I was looking for a quiet place to die.I was to discover quicklythat he had no plans to hasten his own end, but the connection was established. Narrator Nathan is a divorcé, survivor of cancer, and a man is…

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I can hold nothing against or up to either Neil Gaiman or the late Terry Pratchett. In respect of their fans and their work, my problems are mine and mine alone. In general, both are of the highest standard. In context however, I can only judge Pratchett’s early work, such as TruckersThe Carpet People (currently reading to my four-and-nine-tenths year old who is loving it) and The Light Fantastic etc. (all of which I enjoyed as a very young teenager). Post-Carpe Jugulum I have read exactly diddly squat, and the stage plays and TV adaptations have passed me by without so much as a flicker of interest. Whereas Gaiman continues to intrigue, chipping away at my natural scepticism with his charm and wit and style and great children’s books, and I did enjoy Stardust the movie, for the most part because of Robert De Niro, and also in spite of Ricky Gervais. Of course, were they to collaborate on a novel (not De Niro and Gervais; that would be one to avoid), then I would expect the world to…