Wednesday, April 13, 2005
outrageously excellent crime novel by Peter Temple, The Iron Rose. (Curiously, this one was in the Columbia library, though none of his other Australian-printed ones seem to have been bought either by Columbia or by the other libraries in the BorrowDirect consortium. My main thought on finding it on the shelf is that it's amazing what a small stretch of shelving is devoted here to Australian fiction. Hmm...) This one even more than the others I've read made me think of a Dick Francis novel died & gone to heaven & transmuted into something that is pretty much my dream light reading. Funny, violent, sexy. My favorite part is a game in the middle that I'm about 90% sure is rugby, sports being one of my huger pockets of ignorance. The characters, the plot (hinging on the trauma of a job fucked up and the satisfaction of a job well done, plus betrayal and loyalty and all that stuff as they carry over from a life in one line of work to life in another, or from childhood to adulthood), the immensely appealing first-person narrator (drug cop turned blacksmith), most of all the amazing prose style... seriously, if I were an editor at a big publishing house, I would sign this guy up as the new Dick Francis and make sure that millions of people were reading his novels... (And if you only know the not-so-good recent Francis novels, it's well worth checking out some of the older ones. There are lots that I particularly love, but two especially good ones that also have an Australian connection are In the Frame, which I see you can buy used for twenty-five cents, and For Kicks.) I'm going to go ahead and order Temple's other Jack Irish novels from Amazon in Australia. I hear he's writing a new one, too. Which makes me very happy.