Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Stiff," by Shane Maloney

We have a result in the race to determine which crime fiction I read next. Late returns give Shane Maloney's Stiff the edge in tight balloting over David Owen's A Second Hand and Chourmo, the second novel in Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseilles trilogy.

All three, each in its own way, get off to starts that make me want to read more. Owen's Pufferfish is even blunter on A Second Hand's first page than in the other three novels in the series, and Chourmo's opening chapters are full of yearning and tragedy that make me feel funny discussing the book in the same post as its more lighthearted Australian counterparts. I'll surely discuss both these novels later.

But for now, it's more of Maloney's Murray Whelan, the weary but hilarious political operative and beleageured member of Australia's Labour Party. The clinchers were probably the thick, heavy lout who storms into Whelan's office demanding political action against a tattoo artist who misspelled the lout's girlfriend's name in an elaborate design on his chest, which causes her to spurn his (the lout's) marriage proposal, and this, about a sexy female political activist:

Naturally, in keeping with their advocacy role, the folks at the League went in for the customary amount of third-worldish polemic. Ayisha, for instance, tended to go about in a red keffiyeh, sounding like Vanessa Redgrave.

Much more later.

© Peter Rozovsky 2006

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