The series of film talks I do every year in Manhattan is approaching, and that means I have to read several cinema books to prepare. Fiction will go on the back burner for awhile. On the cusp of this pause in fiction reading, it seems like as good a time as any to briefly mention some recent fiction I've enjoyed, all novels.
John Shepphird's Bottom Feeders
This is a fast enjoyable whodunnit set on a low budget film shoot going on in California. I reviewed it in detail at Criminal Element
William Boyle's The Lonely Witness
Boyle's follow up to his impressive debut novel, Gravesend, is a beauty. Here's the full review I did.
Alex Segura's Blackout
The fourth book in Segura's Pete Fernandez PI series is the best so far. If you want to read the review, you can here.
Ruth Rendell's The Vault
This was a return to an old friend. Over the years, I've read a lot of books by Ruth Rendell. And by Rendell writing as Barbara Vine. But it had been a few years since I last read one of her books. No particular reason - I just hadn't. One good thing, though, about a true master, especially one as prolific as she was - you know that writer is always there, ever great, and when you feel so inclined again, you'll return to them.
The Vault is a sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes, one of her creepiest and strongest works. Interesting, because A Sight for Sore Eyes is a non-Inspector Wexford Rendell novel, but The Vault features Wexford as the central character. While Sore Eyes, like most non-Wexfords, focuses on the abnormal psychology of its criminal protagonist, Teddy Brex, The Vault unfolds through the balanced perception of its detective. It's Rendell in full procedural mode, and typically nuanced, lovely Rendell it is. What a pleasure to come back to her elegant prose and quiet humor and of course her mastery with plotting, pacing, and characters. Rendell died a few years ago, but I can only be glad that after reading twenty or so of her books, there are another fifty or so to read.