Monday, October 16, 2017

A Slightly Less Psychotic Parker

The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2)The Man With The Getaway Face by Richard Stark
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Parker is a bad man. So, shouldn't I feel bad for rooting for him?.....NAH!

Cold-blooded crook in the first degree, Parker has just undergone a necessary face change when he is drawn into a heist for the quick cash prospect. Of course, once he gets the real details of the job he discovers his take won't be a fraction of what he thought it was. And that's not even the bad part about it! But hell, he goes along with it anyway, and I'm glad he did. Otherwise it wouldn't have been much of a book...

In this, the second book in the series, our "hero" doesn't come off as quite so psychotic. It's a little easier to pull for a guy who isn't torturing women. He's far from lovable, but at least he isn't almost completely repellent like I felt he was in book one.

There's a side story to The Man With The Getaway Face that drags a little bit. Mainly it's slow because the side character is slow, as in stupid. One too many knocks to the head have left him dimwitted. That's fine, but having to follow a character who doesn't understand what's going on means as a reader you are forced to endure repetition or long, drawn out passages in which you know exactly what's going on and where it's going. This gets boring real quick.

All in all though, this was a solid read at just the right length for this kind of mean-spirited stuff. I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time with these dickholes and twatwads, so I'm glad author Richard Stark kept it short.

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Introducing Hercule Poirot

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thus begins the sleuthing adventures of that diminutive Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot!

The setting is an English country manor house during World War I. The lady of the house has a will, potentially multiple wills, and just about everybody at the house has some reason for wishing her dead, or at least suspecting the others with vehement certitude. Nearly everyone's got a motive and red herrings are flying about the place like, well, like flying fish!

I loved the WWI details and such how Poirot and some fellow Belgian refugees are guest to the English and soldiers are convalescing at houses such as this. Interesting slice of wartime life.

I've read a few of Agatha Christie's Poirot books before and grown fond of the recurring characters, so it was nice to finally see where it all began. While not her best work, I believe The Mysterious Affair at Styles is Christie's very first work, and with that in mind, this ain't half bad!

I don't know if it deserves four stars, because I'm a fan and was happy to get some insights into the main characters that would carry this series into the dozens. This book lays the blueprint for many (most?) of her others, which would be written with varying degrees of skill, some better and some worse than this one. So I don't mind giving it the rating I did.

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