David Peace has style. That style is self-conscious, telegraphic, literary. Sentence fragments to open chapters of 1977 give way to (slightly) more conventional narrative flow as chapters develop. Snippets of interior monologue in italic are interspersed in the text. Transitions are choppy.
It's literary as all hell, and boy, does it ever work. A harried cop and a burned-out reporter are on the tail of the Yorkshire Ripper, who rapes, kills and mutilates prostitutes. Cop and reporter are each involved in the victims' world more than professionally. A community terrorized? Well, yes, but here the terror seems to radiate from within the characters.
Crime fiction need not argue its case on any terms but its own. But if anyone feels a need to argue that a crime novel can be a literary novel and work as both, Peace might be a good place to start.
More later, probably, since I'm just 142 pages into one book of a quartet. For now, though, a question: What authors whom you have read, crime or otherwise, emphasize literary style the most? How do they do this? And how do you like the results?
© Peter Rozovsky 2009