Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer Reads

Since yesterday was the September equinox and the end of summer, it's time to take stock of my summer reading. It was one hell of a good summer. There have been periods when i've read one forgettable book after another and wonder why I wasted my time with them. At other times, one book would make a season. Not this summer. This could go down as the summer when I couldn't miss, when every book I picked up was thrilling and engaging. And still I missed my goal.

My wife and I decided before the summer began that we would complete all of the Michael Connolly books. She came closer than I did to achieving that goal. Once you've read a few Connoly books, you discover that the characters move in and out in interesting ways and form unpredictable relationships with one another. Getting closure on those relationships was one reason why we tried to finish all of them. I have three to go: The Black Ice, The Brass Verdict, The Scarecrow, but now I find myself dragging my feet to the finish because I really don't want the closure. I want there to be always another bend in the road ahead.

So much for what I didn't read, here's what I did, in no particular order.
Shutter Island
The Night Gardener
The Last Coyote
Paper Doll
The Hard Way
The Enemy
Indigo Slam
L.A. Requien
Dark Paradise

You can read about some of them here and the rest on the Hawaiian Eye blog

Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane. This is a complex, scary thriller that will leave you wondering what's real and what isn't. A U.S. marshall goes to Shutter Island, an isolate hospital for the criminally insane, to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients. This was an era when electroshock therapy, chemical therapy and lobotomies were cutting edge treatment. The ending will leave you wondering if there really is a line between reality and madness. It will be released later this year or early next year as a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. If you plan on seeing it, READ THE BOOK FIRST. I'm sorry for shouting, but you will do yourself a favor by reading the book before you see the movie. I can't imagine the movie capturing the complexity of this story, but if it does, it will be astounding.

Dogtown and Soultown, Mercedes Lambert. Whitney Logan is a struggling attorney in Los Angeles. In Dogtown, reviewed on my blog, Hawaiian Eye, she meets a streetwise hooker named Lupe and the two get caught up in the Latino revolutionary underworld. Soultown takes up six months later when we find Whitney waiting for Lupe to be released from prison. Whitney's obsession with Lupe grows intense as they become embroiled in a murder in Korea town. These are underrated classics. Lambert loves her city, her characters and her stories and makes us love them. The third book in the trilogy, Ghosttown, was published in 2007, five years after Lambert's death. I'm torn between wanting to read it right now and wanting to delay taking that last turn.

Dark Paradise, Lono Waiwaiole. My favorite place on the planet is Hawaii and I seek out any and all mysteries set in the Aloha State. Sadly, most Hawaiian mysteries read as though they were crafted in the offices of the Hawaiian Visitor's Bureau. the sunsets are magical, the people friendly, and the breezes are gentle. Dark Paradise breaks the mold. If your only knowledge of Hawaii is a seven-day, six night stay on Maui or Waikiki, you don't know Hawaii. Waiwaiole knows Hawaii and, in Dark Paradise, he nails it. Geronimo Souza is a Hawaiian-Portuguese detective on the Big Island. A member of the drug task force, he struggles with gambling and marital problems while trying to prevent an all-out war between the Japanese and Mexican gangs who are vying for control of the Big Island crystal meth trade. Waiwaiole extinguishes the gorgeous sunsets and tears up the glittering beaches to show the local people and society, a product of a century and a half of internal colonialism by the United States, as they really exist. Dis story is da real da kine, brah. Can you expect less from a guy who is named after the god of music and fertility?

Mark Troy


Anonymous said...

That's quite a list of books you've read. I focused on catching up on Dean Koontz (False Memories was awesome), one of Kathy Reichs books, and a couple books from Joel Rosenberg: The Last Jihad and The Ezekial Option.

I see The Scarecrow from Michael Connely on your list of yet to read. Its next on my list. Heard great things about it.

Stephen Tremp

Helen Ginger said...

Don't know why, but Shutter Island sounds appealing to me. Aakk. So much to read on my list.

Straight From Hel

Morgan Mandel said...

I am so far behind on my reading I don't know where to start. If I'm lucky I get one or two books read on vacation. Depends how sleepy I get in the van going to and from. Once I'm at the cottage, then it depends how much time I spend shopping and at the casino.

Anyway, today I was forced to read because I couldn't bring my laptop on the train due to a lower back strain. In a way it was a good thing to just relax and read for a change instead of trying to get caught up all the time with networking.

Morgan Mandel

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Hated Shutter Island! At the end, the hardback went airborne and hit the wall, narrowly missing a window. I was so mad. I would think it would be best to read the book first, as it always is when Hollywood does their version, but, especially in this case.

I tried to get DARK PARADISE based on your review, Mark through my local library. They don't carry it. Thanks to the new rules based on the latest round of budget cuts, I will have to wait awhile before I can try interlibrary loan. Not that I don't have plenty here to read. lol

And a family that has taken to pointing out almost daily that if I am reading, I am not writing. I think there is a conspiracy afoot.

Dana Fredsti said...

I don't mind being behind in my reading because it means there will always be a long, lovely list of books still waiting to be read...