(Also posted on One Bite at a Time.)

Recommended Reads from October, in the order I read them:

The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins – A seminal book. Few crime fiction writers since have been unaffected by Higgins’s work, and this is the book that got him noticed. Should be on a shelf with Chandler, Hammett, et al for crime fiction writers, and anyone else interested in how the gerne has evolved.

Chasing Darkness, Robert Crais – Possibly the best Elvis and Joe novel. The story sizzles, and Crais has a keen sense of how a PI can never really put things right, but has to be satisfied with explanations. Pike has been humanized by his solo turn in The Watchman, and all the other bit players in Crais’s repertory company are used to best advantage. This book kept me away from the bar the night before Bouchercon so I could finish it.

Blood’s a Rove
r, James Ellroy – The final volume in his American Trilogy, after American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand, and definitely not for everyone. Ellroy writes with a disdain for convention and good taste to pull the reader into his alternate universe of the Sixties and Seventies. Not as nihilistic as TC6K, and a slightly easier read. Oscar Levant once said there is a line between genius and insanity, and he had crossed it. Ellroy straddles it. You’ll love this book or hate it, or you won’t be sure which. You won’t be indifferent, and you’ll never forget it.

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Comment by Dana King on November 3, 2009 at 10:28am
Yes, but is Ellroy's really an alternate universe?
Let's hope so.

I've been a Elvis and Joe fan for years, and was surprised when Chasing Darkness surpassed even my expectations. I loved The Watchman, so I'll BOLO for The First Rule.
Comment by Neil Nyren on November 3, 2009 at 9:12am
Glad you liked Chasing Darkness, Dana. The new Crais, The First Rule, out in January, is another book centered on Pike, with Elvis chiming in. It's fierce.
Comment by John McFetridge on November 3, 2009 at 6:52am
Yes, but is Ellroy's really an alternate universe?

I finally read The Friends of Eddie Coyle, too, and it's quite amazing. So many books have built on it without even knowing it.

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