Friday, December 08, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, December 8, 2017

Next Friday will be Bill Crider day on the blog. Please save reviews of work other than Bill's for another time. Remembrances are also welcome. Those without a blog, please send your piece to me and I will post it here.

I can hardly bear to post these reviews without his name on the list. Another friend died from a stroke this week. Bonnie has two major losses. And Kevin has lost his Sandi. Hardly a worse week in memory. And what goes on in Washington just compounds all semblance of a civil society.



 UPRIGHT PIANO PLAYER, David Abbott

Henry Cage is an enigmatic protagonist to say the least. Despite what seem outwardly like a successful life, he is left by his wife, spurned by his son, a stranger to his grandson, forced out of his career, and harassed by a man who knocks into him after a party. Yet none of these things lead him to much self-reflection. He seems unable to give much and is puzzled at the consequent results of his behavior.

This is a book that has been reviewed favorably yet not one of the women in my book group enjoyed it or even thought it a very good novel. These were the reasons they expressed:: they had no more understanding of Henry Cage by the end of the book than at the beginning--oh, yes, he had changed but it was not clear why. There were too many POVs that seemed unnecessary. Sometimes it was hard to sort out whose head we were in. Every character gets moments of reflection. So many in fact that this may have been what kept us from understanding Henry. The book begins with a horrific incident--an incident so horrible that we all dreaded having to go through it again. The author seemed determined to drape every character in tragedy, in fact. 

Having said this, I have thought about this book quite a bit. I wish we had been told more about his childhood, what made him such a inward man, so unreflective and aloof. I know back stories are unpopular nowadays but a character like Henry needs one if we are to have any hope of peering inside his head. What made Henry the man he was?

Sergio Angelini, Ranking the 87th Precinct Books by Ed McBain
Yvette Banek, Three Mystery Series
Les Blatt, SOMEBODY AT THE DOOR, Raymond Postgate
Brian Busby, The Season's Best Books in Review: 1917 
Martin Edwards, THE FILE ON LESTER, Andrew Garve
Curt Evans, LAVENDER HARVEST: IN COLD BLOOD, Armstrong Livingston
Richard Horton, THE AUCTION BLOCK, Rex Beach
Jerry House, TARZAN AND THE MAD MAN, Edgar Rice Burroughs
George Kelley, HARD READING: LEARNING FROM SCIENCE FICTION, Tom Shippey
Margot Kinberg, THE STUDENT BODY, Simon Hyatt
Rob Kitchin, DEATH OF A DOXY, Rex Stout
B.V. Lawson, THE MYNN'S MYSTERY, George Manville Fenn 
Evan Lewis,  RED GARDENIAS, Jonathan Latimer
Steve Lewis, THE GUILTY BYSTANDER, Mike Brett
Todd Mason, MIND FIELDS, Harlan Ellison and Jacek Yerka
Neer, A TIME TO DIE, Hilda Lawrence
J.F. Norris, THIRTY DAYS TO LIVE BY, Anthony Gilbert
Matt Paust, OUR GAME, John LeCarre
James Reasoner, THE EBONY JUJU, Gordon MacCreagh
TomCat, PATTERN OF MURDER, John Russell Fearn
TracyK, LANDED GENTLY, Alan Hunter
Westlake Review, GET REAL, Part 2

13 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks, Patti, for including my post. I admit I've not read Upright Piano Player But the title alone is really appealing.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

That's a prime reason why I could never join a book club. I just don't want to read a book like that.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't mind being forced to read books I might never read on my own. Sometimes.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Patti...though I think spell-"correct" got at you when listing mine...it's MIND FIELDS. Otherwise correct!

Sorry to read of the friend taken by stroke. My book was produced by the principals in the midst of such a cluster of terrible things.

Yvette said...

Mine up now, Patti. Thanks.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Patti. I intend to try and get myself together to do something for next Friday. I just couldn't today.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Really sorry to hear that, Kevin.

George said...

FFB just doesn't seem the same without Bill Crider...

I think honoring Bill next week is a great idea.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'll be here for next friday. Will post about bill on my blog

J F Norris said...

I'll do my best next week to contribute a review in honor of Bill and his work.

Here's my post for this week:

30 Days to Live by Anthony Gilbert

Todd said...

I missed a typo on George's listing here when I sent out the lists to discussion lists...Tom Shippey rather than "Shipley" is the author of the book HARD READING...

bloodymurder said...

Thanks for including me in the roundup and will certainly contribute to the celebration in honour of Bill Crider.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I do now have something set up for Friday in honor of Bill Crider.