Friday, September 17, 2004

Five-letter one-word titles using Scrabble letters

Just read two more Bruen Brixton novels, Blitz and Vixen. I am desperate to find out what will happen to Falls! I guess the point of this noir thing is that the characters you like often come to a bad end. I'm not sure if there are more yet of these Brixton books, must investigate. I still can't believe I hadn't heard of this guy before I saw him mentioned on Sarah Weinman's site. Genius. They're so literary and funny and sad, it's ridiculous. My only complaint: why do small presses do such a terrible job proofreading? There is a typo or a misspelled word or a punctuation glitch on almost every page of these books, it's super-annoying--surely there are lots of people in the world like me who would proofread for free if it was for books this good. The Do Not Press is admirable but should take care of this problem!

I've just read Kevin Wignall's first novel, People Die. I will get his next one ASAP! This is a wonderfully well-written book, and filled me with envy that someone else done what I wholly failed to do with mine, which is start out publishing your first novel with everything already working seamlessly well & sounding like a pro. The main character is appealing--I like these low-key charismatic largely amoral guys in their late 20s or early 30s--and the settings & psychological stuff all very compelling, but I was especially impressed by what an elegant and short book this is. The spy thriller has in its past some elegant thrillers--in fact pretty much up until the 60s international thrillers were as likely to be short & well-crafted as any other kind of novel--but the Ludlum-Clancy model involves many, many hundreds of pages and the writing ranges from competent to clunky. This book has none of that feel, yet it captures the appeal of, say, Ludlum at his best. I'm thinking chiefly of The Bourne Identity, which always seemed to me far superior to any of his other novels--I read all of Ludlum in an obsessive fit at age 16, on the recommendation of my dearly beloved boyfriend Anton, murdered in 1998. I hadn't been in touch with him for some years before he died, but certain things always make me think of him very strongly--his literary tastes in high school ran chiefly to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Kurt Vonnegut and Peter Matthiesen, but he was a passionate devotee of Robert Ludlum and pressed on me one after another those battered paperbacks that could be found in basements all over America in the 1980s, The Matarese Circle and ... but I won't go on. I have no doubt that Anton would have loved People Die. In fact, I'm tempted to send his parents a copy and tell them how much it made me think of him.

1 comment:

  1. Yes you are right about proof-reading. I was the publisher at The Do-Not Press and I can assure you that all the titles were proof-read by experienced editors. Some of the "mistakes" were deliberate misspellings by the author but a few were genuine mistakes. Don't ask me how they slipped through - many pairs of eyes had been over them.

    Jim Driver