More good lines and a skull-cracking quiz
The scene: Assistant Chief Constable Esther Davidson is contemplating the possibility that a gangster charged with the torture/murder of a police informant will be acquitted. She reflects on fellow ACC (and usual James co-protagonist) Desmond Iles' rumored conduct after one such acquittal:
"This simplistic, abattoir solution would not be available to Esther, though. She knew she'd never have the spirit and/or wrist strength to garrotte. To her, garrotting looked a sinister, damnable skill; in fact a kind of art, a kind of filthy art, and Iles had about him much of the good third/fourth-rate artist: arrogance, contempt for usual social and possibly legal standards, some flair, some posturing, some taste, some vision, and the irresistible impulse to create, or its complementary and sometimes necessary opposite, to wipe out."As always, there is James' delicious, dark deadpan ("never have the spirit and/or wrist strength"). Artists everywhere ought to squirm, and James also hits his own co-protagonist, Iles. (Bill James fans should note that DCI Colin Harpur, Iles' usual foil, partner and sometimes nemesis, does not appear in this latest novel, which is called, for other reasons, In the Absence of Iles.)
The quiz comes from Norm "Uriah" of the Crime Scraps blog, a deceptively mild-mannered retired medical professional who exorcises his demons by teasing his readers with fiendishly difficult questions. Answer them correctly, and win some books. Deadline Jan. 5.
And Happy New Year.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009