Friday, June 22, 2012

In a Goodis mood

I have all kinds of exciting new crime fiction lined up to read and talk about, from people like Adrian McKinty, Mark Pryor, Paul Charles,  Paul O'Brien, Andrea Camilleri, Wolf Haas, and others.

But somehow the mood seems right for David Goodis. Maybe it's the chaotic state of my newsroom, stripped of office furniture, a meager staff banging away at keyboards while others scavenge for bargains in books, mugs, and leftover promotional T-shirts. Only now our move to  a new building has been postponed a week or two, so we're all feeling a bit like stunned post-apocalyptic bottom feeders.

Anyhow, Goodis' tales of loneliness and isolation seem especially appropriate, though the novel I'm reading now, Nightfall, is set in Manhattan, rather than in Goodis' native Philadelphia, where I am typing these words.

What crime writers seem especially suited to a given mood? Do you ever choose the books you read based on such considerations? Which authors do you reach for? And what mood are you in when you reach for them?

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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18 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

I go on binges in my head whenever I shelve the mystery section, which is often. Unfortunately, I can rarely find the time to read anything like the number of books I'd like to read once I get home.

June 22, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You, more than most, would be more prone to overload that way. But even if you don't have time to give in to those moods, which crime writers are expecially evocative of those moods? Goodis? Vargas? Camilleri? Pierre Magnan? Cornell Woolrich?

Patricia Highsmith might draw a vote or two.

June 22, 2012  
Blogger seana graham said...

Vargas, Donna Leon, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Ken Bruen, Janet Evanovich, Linda Fairstein. A lot of this is predicated on predictability, because there is some long standing character or characters. It doesn't actually always have to be a great writer, because sometimes it's more about knowing what you're getting.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

A couple of good ones there -- Bruen (who offers a choice of several moods) and Evanovich especially. A wise comment about predictability, too, though familiarity might express the same idea with fewer pejorative connotations.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger seana graham said...

That's probably true, but I didn't really mean it pejoratively. It's not that the plots are stale, it's that you can predict that certain things will happen in the course of the novel, like Grandma Mazur doing a screwball turn or Stephanie Plum's car will be totalled, and those are part of the pleasure.

Man, I really need to catch up on my Evanovich reading.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My favorite would be Stepahnie's father saying, "Jesus!" whenever Grandma Mazur would start doung her act. Oh, there is much to be said about seeking the solace of the familiar in books.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Off topic but I picked up Zugzwang today at the library. Looking forward to it.

June 23, 2012  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I read in bed. On the whole, I like to relax, be mildly entertained, and then gently lulled asleep. However, since I'm frequently awake again some hours later, I want to come back to something interesting.
I'm fond of Camilleri, Lee Child, Ken Bruen (only the Taylor novels), Connelly (sometimes), John Harvey, Wingfield (though there are no more), O'Brian, Cornwell's Sharpe series, most of the Scandinavians (though I hate some of them), and the Botswana series by A. McCall-Smith. Never Evanovich. They were old and rather silly after # 2. Reading Cotterill's SLASH & BURN at the moment.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, historical novels set against the background of high-level chess tournaments are never off topic here. Zugzwang may not be quite as good as Havoc In Its Third Year (How many books are?), but it still exciteing and evocative, and it will satisfy a craving for chess, if you have one.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I'll read anything at any time, but I'd never have thought of many of the Scandinavians as just the thing to send me off to dreamland.

June 23, 2012  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

You probably like the ones I detest, Peter. :)

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Maybe, though I don't tend to dislike books as strongly as you do. This could be because I lack the patience to finish a book that does not hold my attention. Needless to say, I am very big on first lines.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Yesterday I googled the phrase: "what is the name of the situation in chess whereby any move you make will make the situation worse"? Zugzwang was the answer, I remembered that that was the name of the Bennett novel and I checked to see if my library had it. They did. I finished the book last night. Very good. Not great like Havoc but a terrific little novel. Make a good art house film one day.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, geez, I can hear the violins in the background, see the sumptuous costumes. Ye gods, forget that, folks, and just read the book.

June 23, 2012  
Anonymous Paula said...

Hi, I am a reader of spy novels (regardless of my current mood)for pure enjoyment Some of the recent authors on my Kindle are: Alan Furst,Rebecca Cantrell,Richard Zimler, David Downing. Well, you get the drift. I originally was not fond of the Kindle, but must say it is great for reading in bed. My bill from Amazon is getting out of control:) It is way too easy to click and then read a book within 60 seconds.
Paula

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I hear Amazon is working on an "app" that will connect customers' brains directly to their Kindle accounts so they can spend money just by thinking of a book.

June 23, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Needless to say, I am very big on first lines.

"It was one of those days when everything goes wrong. I should have guessed that the letter would mean trouble." -- Murder for the Bride, John D. MacDonald, 1951.

That made me want to keep reading.

June 26, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That would make me want to keep reading a swell. "It was one of those days when ..." is as rich with potential as "Once upon a time ..."

June 26, 2012  

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