Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Bill James novel arrives!

How many crime writers give us a detective mourning and contemplating the special horror of a child's death? Lots, and almost always to show the detective's sensitivity to the brutal world out there and hence his or her bravery in taking up arms against it. How many would give us this:

"One of the notable things about Iles was he'd get very upset over the death of any child, but especially a child who'd been shot. He gazed at this lad on the floor of the Jaguar, and Harpur could read the self-blame, anguish and despair in Iles's face. It had happened on his territory, and in daylight — that's how he would think: a damned affront, a stain; someone, or more than one, monkeying with him, with him, Desmond Iles.
A tragic event, a little portrait of Desmond Iles' monstrous vanity, and Colin Harpur's wry, clear-eyed observations of his borderline unbalanced superior. And the passage is just plain fun to read — no surprise from the author of such gorgeous prose as that cited here, here and here.
(I Am Gold, newly arrived by mail, is Bill James' twenty-seventh novel in the Harpur and Iles series. Here's a checklist of the books. Peter Temple has called James a star. Ken Bruen has praised him. So have I; here's my 2009 interview with James.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I tried twice, but I cannot take Bill James. There is such a crazy abundance of words as characters contemplate absolutely everything at great length, whether it's relevant or not, that I want to strangle the author and his characters. This kind of writing reminds us of the stream-of-consciousness technique of Joyce's ULYSSES. It has no place in the mystery genre, in my opinion.

January 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The crazy abundance of words is one of the delights of Bill James and one reason even the weaker books in the series will contain some terrific lines.

I suspect that he would agree his kind of writing has no place in the mystery genre. Here’s part of one of his answers from our interview:

”Another writer-reviewer said, `Not much detection here.' Guilty, my lord. I think I’m a crime writer, not a detective novelist, although my two principal characters are detectives. They have other things to do.”

January 16, 2011  

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