Monday, June 5, 2017

Murder as a Comfort-Read

Time to Murder and Create (Matthew Scudder, #2)Time to Murder and Create by Lawrence Block
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a criminal "friend" goes belly up in the river with a bump on his head, retired cop Matthew Scudder takes it upon himself to find out whodunnit.

In this, the second of the so-far-enjoyable Scudder series, our hero is tasked with figuring out which of three shitty people with a darkened past was the one who did-in his friend. None of the three are likable, hell, even Matt has some unpleasant skeletons in his closest, so why the hell is this such a good read?!

I've pondered that quite a bit. In fact, I was just saying to Kemper how Lawrence Block's books are fast becoming one of my comfort-reads. I find that strange since you don't usually think of crime, murder, rape, pedophilia, and other shitty things as something you find comfort in. And yet, I do. Obviously, it's not the subject matter. I find comfort in the way the subject is handled, the way Matt Scudder handles the situation, and the way Lawrence Block handles his words. He's got a way with them, that man does!

Also, I've been listening, as opposed to reading, this Scudder series, and I absolutely love the narrator, Alan Sklar's voice, cadence, etc etc. He's done a fantastic job. His somber tone melds with the material meticulously. I believe he is a down-and-out, former cop trying to forget his past in drink.

Somber! Yes, I just called this stuff somber. So, we've got despicable criminals doing shitty things, a detective who's a decent man but not the most likable of people, and a somber narrator. WHY DO I LOVE THIS SERIES SO MUCH?!?!?

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Tense and Explosive

Double IndemnityDouble Indemnity by James M. Cain
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My god, the utter callousness of it all!

It's not too spoilery to give you a summary of the book, however, if you intend to read Double Indemnity, I'd suggest not reading the next two sentences. SUMMARY: A woman consults an insurance agent about taking out a special kind of insurance on her husband, the kind which sends up red flags for the agent, red flags which he ignores. Seduced by the woman and greed, the insurance agent helps her commit murder.

The flippant way in which human life is treated by the narrator reminded me of Humbert Humbert from Lolita. He's a special kind of psycho you don't often see in the papers. In books perhaps he's more common.

This is James M. Cain, so the writing for the genre is fantastic. It's a freaking classic! Sure it doesn't have the name recognition as his famous The Postman Always Rings Twice, but don't sell this one short. I enjoyed it just as much as Postman. There's a similar tone and cadence in them. The emotions are strained, tense, constrained and then explosive.

This isn't cops-n-robbers crime, this is crime straight out of the newspapers...exactly where former journalist Cain got the salacious story. Well worth your time. Give it a read!

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