Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recommended Summer Reading

The San Francisco Chronicle has some recommended summer reads by some notable San Francisco and San Francisco Bay Area personalities. We're talking Rita Moreno, Danny Glover, Jaime Lauren, Phillip Kaufman, and Peter Coyote.

Not to mention comedian and Paul D. Brazill impersonator, Will Durst goes with my lifetime favorite.

There's also Joan Chen...

...and let's face it, who cares what the others have to say, when you have Joan Chen? They should've devoted the article solely to her. So my recommendations for you? I'll keep it simple because I'm not a reviewer by any stretch of the imagination.

"Jack Wakes Up." Remember when Quentin Tarantino and John Woo were firing on all cylinders? Well Seth Harwood has all of that in spades. One of the best parts of this book, is that the protagonist, Jack Palms, often doesn't know what he is doing or what he is going to do next. He's purely reactive and damn it, that's perfect. Even though he is a former actor, he is real by virtue of how deals with each situation.
The finale is nothing short of Woo bullet ballet.

"Spade And Archer?" I thought that Joe Gores would nail Hammett's prose, the way that he had done previously in novels and one screenplay. I believe that he didn't try as hard as he could and maybe he didn't want the audience reading this book exactly the way they would read Dashiell.

That being said, this was a good book that while not as crisp as Hammett, is a very satisfying novel. The shadow of the real Thin Man or not, Gores does a brilliant job of creating Sam Spade's back story (don't make me use the word, "prequel") and it is a must read.

Connelly's back, 'nuff said.

Mister Bruen does what few can, he can make you empathize with a psychopath (not the psychopath's actions). He has a prose that is unrivaled and literally like no other. He doesn't write books for the cozy set and by God, who wants that? Crime is not white gloves, tea, cucumber sandwiches, crumpets, and china. It's raw as a blood-red steak on a rusty tin plate, with a chaser of Jameson's in a glass that has never seen water nor soap.
"Once Were Cops" brings to mind the old Raymond Chandler quote about Dashiell Hammett-

"Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare and tropical fish."


Corey Wilde said...

Harwood has been added to my reading stack, thx very much; agree with you on Spade & Archer; I'll probably skip Connelly this time around; and while I may not empathize with Bruen's psychos, I cannot look away. He's such a genius, that Bruen.

Paul Brazill said...

Top tips mate. Hope to pick them up during my summer in the aptly named Blighty!

Pyzahn said...

Those are some seriously heavy book recommendations. Much too cerebral for my summer brain.

But I am waiting eagerly for the library to fork over a copy of The Scarecrow so I can get down with Mr. Connelly.

Cormac Brown said...


You're welcome.
Your review put "S & A" in perspective for me and I was able to enjoy it all the more because of your words.
With your TBR list, I can understand if you wait for "Scarecrow" to come out in paperback.
He is very much a genius.

Paulie Decibels,

Oh, to be back in the Land of Right-Hand Drive...


On the contrary, it's perfect summer reading because it's page-turning in the best sense, with thought behind the action.

Paul Brazill said...

.....the land where the British National Party are treated seriously ...

Cormac Brown said...

Paulie Decibels,

That's a damn shame, life is too short to hate people.