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