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review 2019-12-11 21:37
Wrestling with the Past
The Last Coyote - Michael Connelly

Book 4 in the Harry Bosch detective series and the precision in the moving parts of this 1995 novel remind me of an exquisitely crafted watch. The mainspring is, of course, the irascible Bosch, dynamically driving the plot forward, meshing the various components into a beautifully balanced whole, testament to the skill of a master craftsman. And there is no doubt that Michael Connelly is an exceptionally gifted storyteller.


Just as “The Concrete Blonde” dissected the main character through a retrospective legal examination of his most notorious case, so there was an inevitability in Bosch’s re-visiting of the crime, which had dictated so much of his life – the murder, 35 years earlier, of his mother. Time had always predicated against such a foray into a very private investigation, however, the ‘involuntary stress leave’ conferred on Bosch, following his assault of a superior officer, provides the opportunity. Moreover, the recent terminal, tectonic damage done to his home and probably to his relationship with Sylvia Moore, propels him to the conclusion that this is the right time. Not that Bosch accepts his side-lining graciously, but just as his former courtroom cross-examination told us much about the man’s personality, in this installment, the compulsory sessions with police psychologist, Carmen Hinojos, proves a clever vehicle for the reader to journey back to the childhood trauma that contributed so much to the complex character of Harry Bosch.


Whilst the author has an uncanny knack for evoking curiosity about Los Angeles, the strangely exotic, but oppressive environment in which the main character thrives. Again, in his pursuit of answers, Bosch ventures further afield, this time to Florida, where the change of air and the trading of pollution for an unfamiliar ocean has a detoxifying effect and even allows a recuperative, romantic encounter, which for a time seems to penetrate the detective’s hard outer shell.


Just as the earthquake is literally a ‘leveller’, the story also has the feel of decks being cleared for a new phase. By enabling Bosch to shed some weighty emotional baggage, the need to rebuild a new home, a new intimate relationship and a dramatic reboot of his position in the LAPD, Bosch has been allowed to glimpse a life outside of the suffocating intensity of human depravity, in which he has been immersed for so long. Whether Bosch is able to break free of the gravitational pull of criminal justice and his personal mission, which has hitherto held him fast, may be revealed further into the series. Still, this novel has the feel of a seminal moment and commands a slam-dunk ‘5-stars’ for its compelling plot and thought-provoking denouement.

 

Seconds out...Book 5 awaits...

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review 2019-01-11 18:48
Better than I remembered
X-Man (1995-2001) #1 - Mike Sellers,Steve Skroce,Jeph Loeb

Still as wordy as the older comics were.   Art is pretty typical of the time, but I remembered X-Man, this series, not being great.   It was better and more compelling than I remembered, so I'll probably continue at some point.

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review 2018-11-22 08:12
Alles zu verstehen, alles zu vergeben: "Ripley's Omnibus" by Patricia Highsmith
The Talented Mr Ripley / Ripley Under Ground / Ripley's Game / The Boy Who Followed Ripley - Patricia Highsmith



(Original Review, 1995)



I remember trying to follow a DVD of Mr. Ripley one evening many years ago. I was at the time dazed by antibiotics and kept drifting in and out of semi-consciousness, so I managed to catch only the odd isolated scene with the angelic-looking cast, a golden trio swanking around a sunny, shimmering lotion. Matt Damon looked like a bespectacled, goofy nerd who had probably began his acting career in commercials playing the Milkybar Kid.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-11-21 20:15
Ones-self: "The Unconsoled" by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Unconsoled - Kazuo Ishiguro


(Original Review, 1995-12-12)



I'm pretty respectful of other people's opinions and durable literary reputations. Reading Ulysses was bliss for me, but I have no harsh words for people who don’t like it. It is obviously something that has engaged reader’s minds, hearts, and souls, and perhaps more importantly influenced and engaged writers across generations, and I wish I could figure out why the rest of the world does not like it. As a reader one needs a little humility about one's little opinion, especially if it is “I like” or "I don't like".

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-19 11:08
Leopold Bloom, A Man For All Time: "Ulysses" by James Joyce
Ulysses - James Joyce


I started off thinking Ulysses was a pile of incoherent drivel, even though I'd never got past the first page. At 20 I would sit in the uni bar getting pissed and slagging off literary types and lecturers who mentioned it (some of them were pretentious posers; some of them weren't). At 30 I decided to put up or shut up by actually reading it so that I could explain why it was incoherent drivel. The result was that I was drawn into it and have read it five times cover-to-cover. Like a lot of challenging literature, it requires a bit of life experience to get into.


If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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