Tuesday, August 21, 2018

SUNBURN by Laura Lippman

I've waited to long to read more books by the popular Laura Lippman, and this one seemed right up my alley. Lippman's set-up is classic pulp noir: a drifter meets a sexy redhead with a mysterious past in a sleepy small town diner and they embark on a relationship that they both know probably won't be the healthiest one. What takes the book down even more fascinating paths is that we get not one, not two, but numerous unreliable narrators. Each character's past starts to be revealed, but not just through their point of view, but the POV of others around them as well. We not only start to learn their history but we learn that they're also harboring secrets as well, and as the reader, we struggle to figure out what is true and what isn't.
He knows everything about her. the hard part has been keeping track of what he's supposed to know and what she has yet to tell him.
It makes for very engaging reading, making this one of the more interesting reading experiences I've had this year. For the first half of the book, I couldn't wait to keep reading to see where the story would take me.

Then, coming up near the end of the novel, I began to suspect that it wasn't really taking me anywhere. The pace slowed down significantly, and by the end, my fears were confirmed. Not much actually happened here, at least not anything that lived up to the promise of the first half. The book was fine but not as amazing as I was hoping, especially with the great character work that Lippman featured here.



"The thunder's calling our names Lincoln. You hear it? I do.
I'll race ya."
What a fantastic series. And Aaron brings it all to a fitting conclusion here. If you're a fan of shows like Deadwood or Sons of Anarchy, and other well-conceived crime dramas, definitely check this story out. I wish I could erase my memory and start over again fresh from the beginning and relive the story one more time. All of the painstaking and meticulous character building and world building pays off as each character and storyline comes to a head and converges dramatic resolution that will leave the Prairie Rose Reservation in flames.



"You gotta sin to get saved..."
This penultimate chapter of Scalped reads like more of a waypoint on the way to it's inevitable finale. While the writing is still incredibly strong and the story continues to be compelling, much of it focuses on the characters dealing with the aftermath of the events from the previous book and setting them in place for the next one. It's really a transition story so it's not as stunning as the last installment. But you'd be hard pressed to find a better comic book series than this one.


Monday, August 6, 2018


Don't go into this book with it's crime label on your mind thinking that it'll be full of big violent thrills. In fact, it's the opposite, filled with quiet, small tales of little moments in the lives of the people in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the moments that leave an impression, no matter how small. But that's not to say that the stories here are boring. As a matter of fact, I was pretty engaged throughout, as Conley has a real talent for quickly getting to the core of a character and an emotion, instantly grabbing you in a few paragraphs. There's an interesting nostalgic quality to the stories, where they feel more like memories, as if the characters, or in some cases, the omniscient narrator, can't shake the influence that these moments have had. I really enjoyed this taste of Conley's work and I wish that more writers had her skill with brevity. My favorite stories were probably "Finn's Missing Sister," "Angels," "Metalhead Marty In Love," and "Home Invasion".