Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday's Forgotten Books, September 12, 2014

 Be back after two today to add any new links in.

Timothy Hallinan is the Edgar- and Macavity-nominated author of the Poke Rafferty Bangkok Thrillers and the Junior Bender Mysteries. 

Gitana, Dominic Martell

Gitana is the third and final book in an unhappily short series (the others are Lying Crying Dying and The Republic of Night) by Dominic Martell. The hero, Pasqual Rose, lives a life on the margins in Barcelona, working at a small bar in a dicey neighborhood. This isn't the Barcelona of Gaudi or even Woody Allen, it's a much tougher town, populated by Gypsies, skinheads, and the occasional slumming tourist, a maze of ancient alleyways, dark enough to cloak the worst of misdeeds.
Pascual is shielding an enormous secret: a more than a decade ago, as a young, impressionable man, he fell in with the Palestinian cause and committed acts of terror in its name before he recoiled from what he'd become and fled into hiding. He's ridden with guilt and hopelessly seeking some kind of absolution—but he's still got the reflexes and instincts developed by years spent looking over his shoulder. When an American man comes into the bar and calls him by name, alarms go off in Pascual's head; and when the American is murdered shortly afterward, Pascual knows that someone or something is sniffing him out.
And then there's Sara, who sings in the bar where Pasqual works, and whom he's fallen in love with, and there's Serrano, the cop who knows part of Pasqual's story, and there's Campos, the journalist who may know nearly all of it and wants to write a book. And back behind all of it, cranking on clockwork Pascual can only guess at, is someone who wants him dead and who doesn't care about collateral damage. And there's also the secret in Sara's past, that Pascual can't even guess at.
Gitana is beautifully plotted and written. Martell obviously knows Barcelona inside out, because I've rarely read a book with a stronger and more persuasive sense of place. The triumph of the book for me, though, is characterization—there isn't a character in the book, who doesn't leap off the page, who doesn't seem to possess a genuine subconscious. I read the book for the skill with which it's written and the spell of the setting, but I loved it because of the people in its pages, Dominic Martell, who also writes crackerjack Chicago thrillers as Sam Reaves, is (I think) a criminally underrated writer, and I'm delighted to see the Pascual trilogy gradually becoming available in ebook form.

Sergio Angelini, SLEEP WITH SLANDER, Dolores Hitchens
Joe Barone, CURSED TO DEATH, Bill Crider
Brian Busby, FASTING FRIAR, Edward McCourt
Martin Edwards, THE SHORTEST WAY TO HADES, Sarah Caudwell
Curt Evans, DON'T LOOK NOW, Daphne DuMaurier
Rich Horton, THE MAN FROM SCOTLAND YARD, David Frome
Randy Johnson, THE TINSELTOWN MURDERS, John Blumenthal
Nick Jones, A SPACE ODYSSEY, Arthur C. Clarke
George Kelley, TARZAN: THE LOST ADVENTURE, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Joe E. Lansdale
Margot Kinberg, DEAD SIMPLE, Peter James
Rob Kitchin, SALTY, Mark Haskell Smith
Evan Lewis, RIDDLE IN THE RAIN, Robert Leslie Bellem
Steve Lewis/Marvin Lachman, THE ROAD TO GANDOLFO, Robert Ludlum
J.F. Norris, THE DEADLY CLIMATE, Ursula Curtiss
James Reasoner, BLACK HORIZON, Robert Masello
Kevin Tipple.Patrick Ohl, THE TOLL HOUSE MURDER, Anthony Wynne
TomCat, THE BALCONY, Dorothy Cameron Disney
TracyK, SEASON OF DARKNESS, Maureen Jennings; THE MOVING TARGET, Ross Macdonald
Zybahn, INSOMNIA, Stephen King


Casual Debris said...

Thanks Patti for finding me following yet another hiatus. I've officially switched my nomenclature to Casual Debris.


Charles Gramlich said...

I see several on here I need to read. Surprised at Insomnia maybe.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

This series sounds marvellous - thanks very much Patti, will definitely get this trilogy.

Gerard said...

Nothing from me this week.

Gerard said...

Hallinan? I just finished the audio for the first Bender novel

John said...

Not having a good day today. But I did manage to finish polishing up this post on a damn good book.

The Deadly Climate by Ursula Curtiss

Todd Mason said...

I might be having a better day than John (suspect I am), but busy as hell. It'll be in by this evening, and with luck a little later in the aft...

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Thanks for including my post. And now, to dig into some of the other great ones here.