Monday, 26 March 2012

Put the book down and step away from the sofa

The sign of a good book is that you can't stop reading it. I've lost count of the times I have woken up with a book on my face, or by the loud bang as it slips out of my fingers and hits the floor.

I am on a noir kick at the moment having read through 'The Best American Noir of the Century' edited by By Otto Penzler and James Ellroy. In the introduction Ellroy describes noir saying 'It’s the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It’s the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad.' While not every story lives up to this expectation there were enough good tales that I decided to buy Ellroy's L.A. Noir to see how his writing measured up.

L.A. Noir is a trilogy set around Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins, a deeply flawed LAPD homicide cop. Hopkins' ability to understand killers makes him Homicide's most effective cop, it also makes him obssesive, exacting and an extremely difficult husband. In the first story in the trilogy he is hunting a serial killer who had killed more than 20 women across the decades.

Sometime ago I read Steig Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and hated its depiction of violence and sexual depravity. Ellroy adds casual drug use to this mix and I really liked the book. Why the sadistic violence in this book works better than in others I don't know. Maybe because it's in the context of the story. In any case, the plot is rivetting. In the small hours of the morning I realised I had started to read the book in extreme close-upand called it a night.

I can't wait to get back to it this evening. Forget about all these modern crime writers - buy Ellroy from your nearest independent bookshop to discover what the genre is really about.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bookshelf by Alex Johnson

Oh, unhappy life!

Don't read this book.

You'll want something on every pages. You won't be able to tear your eyes away.

Put it away. Lock the drawer. This way misery lies.

Laquered steel, silicon, recycled wood, plexiglass
Slings, wheels, balances, arrows
Chairs, staircases, expresso bars, dresses

Bookshelves in varieties, designs and colours that you have never imagined.

Porn for the book lover.

I have signed copies.

I'll wrap them in brown paper.

I promise not to tell if you buy one