Alan Cranis's Blog (6)

AlanReads: Hard Man by Allan Guthrie

Scotsman Allan Guthrie is one of the most demented and twisted crime writers working today. And one of the very best. His third novel, HARD MAN, is the first ot enjoy hardcover publication by a major US publisher. And while this might go a long way toward widening his reading audience, it will certainly cause his fans and newly acquired readers to seek each other out, find a secluded corner somewhere, and urgently quiz each other with questions like, "You read it, did that really happen?"…

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Added by Alan Cranis on June 11, 2007 at 11:00am — No Comments

AlanReads: THE DARK STREETS by John Shannon

It is so tempting to start this consideration of THE DARK STREETS, the latest Jack Liffey novel from John Shannon, by resorting to The Rant. The Rant, as most fans of Shannon's work know, is our howl at the injustices of an ignorant and uncaring universe where John Shannon's superb work slips into oblivion shortly after publication when it ought to be on national best-seller lists and the subject of breathless critical evaluations and appreciations of what the modern crime novel ought to be.…

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Added by Alan Cranis on May 21, 2007 at 11:30am — No Comments

AlanReads: DRIVE by James Sallis (2nd reading)

Imagine, if you can, a crime novel so fine-tuned and crafted that not one word is wasted. A novel that manages to effectively convey its full emotions and characterizations with a poet's minimal amount of words and sentences. A novel that in its mere 192 pages packs more action and resonance than works over twice its size. If you can imagine such a novel, then you're probably thinking of DRIVE by James Sallis.

Following his excellent series of Lew Griffin novels, and just before…

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Added by Alan Cranis on May 15, 2007 at 9:00am — No Comments

AlanReads: WHAT THE DEAD KNOW by Laura Lippman

Whenever Laura Lippman takes a break from her witty, well-written series featuring PI Tess Monaghan, the results are stand-alone novels noticeably more smober in tone and perhaps more personal in their topics. But these works have also quietly expanded the definitions of a "crime novel" (especially with THE POWER OF THREE) and rank Lippman among the finest authors working today. And this is certainly the case with her latest work, WHAT THE DEAD KNOW.

The book opens with a woman…

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Added by Alan Cranis on May 11, 2007 at 12:30pm — No Comments

AlanReads: THE WATCHMAN by Robert Crais

Anyone familiar with the PI Elvis Cole novels of Robert Crais knows that Joe Pike, Cole's shadowy partner, is one of those fictional "Competent Men." You know tha type -- exhaustively trained, intensely experienced, and in any and all situations...competent (like Ian Fleming's James Bond or, more currently, Lee Child's Jack Reacher). So we know that a man like Joe Pike, ex-Marine, ex-L.A. police officer, ex-mercenary, is more than capable of getting out of any trouble he finds himself in.…

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Added by Alan Cranis on May 10, 2007 at 12:30pm — No Comments

AlanReads: CHRISTINE FALLS, by Benjamin Black

It's never been a secret that Benjamin Black is really Man Booker Prize winner John Banville. Even the copy accompanying the author's photo on the inside-back flap of the dust jacket proclaims, "Bennamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville..." So why bother with a pen name?

Some might see it as a literary author's defense against accusations of slumming. (How dare he write something as common as a "crime novel!") But those who follow Banville's various articles and…

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Added by Alan Cranis on April 30, 2007 at 11:30am — No Comments

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