New Treasures

Between the gift exchange with my in-laws and another with some old friends, I ended up with a grab-bag of books I’ve been wanting to read. You can see them pictured to the left.

Along the bottom row are the last four Parker novels in the matched set now available through the University of Chicago Press. There are actually three more novels about the master thief, but they aren’t yet in print through U. of Chicago. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read all these Parker books, but I enjoyed them so much I actually wanted a matched set, something I don’t usually bother with. My older set is getting sent off to some writer friends who I’m sure will find them as inspiring as I have.

Along the top row are the first two books in the Quarry series, which I’ve been told has some similarities to the Parker novels of Richard Stark, and volume 1 of Frederick Nebel’s most acclaimed noir detective series. Those three books are all speculating, so to speak. I don’t know if I’ll like them or not, but I’m going to dig in and see what I think.

The last book there is by my friend John Fultz, and I’m looking forward to reading it very much. Oddly, it’s the only speculative fiction book that made my wish list this holiday season. I’ve been on a real noir kick as of late. If you’ve already read and enjoyed some Fultz, you should know that the third of the three novels in his series just came out in hardback this Christmas.

There is ONE more book I got as a gift. You know that creepy story by Dr. Seuss about the pale green pants with nobody inside them? It used to scare the bejeezus out of me. It was located at the back of a Seuss anthology, one that included The Sneeches and a bunch of other cool stuff that young Howard liked. If I wasn’t careful, though, while reading those stories that I DID like, I’d flip the pages too far and see those creepy green pants. Well, my old friend Brad Kicklighter saw that someone had published a new, glow-in-the-dark version of that story and couldn’t resist picking up a copy for me.

I still hate those creepy green pants. The odd thing is that they never bothered either of my kids, to whom my wife read that story before I could warn her about how scary it was.

We don’t watch a lot of traumatic television around here. My wife has a job that introduces her to enough emotional trauma. As a result, we’ve never tuned in to Breaking Bad, and I only ever watched Justified when I was laid up after my knee surgery. Well, over the weekend I treated myself to the library copy of the third season of Justified, having to watch it all on my lonesome. What fine, fine writing and acting. My brother-in-law and his wife also loaned me their copy of Spartacus, which I’ll probably have to watch solo as well, unfortunately.


4 Comments on “New Treasures

  1. The Quarry books are similar to Parker, but there are some differences. They are worth trying out, though. I’d be interested in knowing what you think of them.

  2. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about Quarry as well. I’ve read four of them to date, I believe, and enjoyed them quite a bit excepting Quarry’s Ex, which didn’t sit well with me (although it might have been a case of genre burn-out as I was on something of a hard case crime jag at the time). And I agree that Justified is a well done show. It is the rare case where I actually enjoyed the show quite a bit more than the books I read.

    Thanks for your recommendation on the Richard Stark, via an earlier blog post. I borrowed the first book from the library. I’ll definitely be checking out more titles in the near future. The prose was hard-nosed and crisp. Excellent stuff.

    Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year.

  3. I finished and enjoyed the first Quarry book. I’ll be digging deeper into the series, as I’m told they just get better from here. This first one wasn’t as polished as the first Stark, but apparently it was written when Collins was in a writing workshop in college. In his twenties. I surely wasn’t writing that well when I was in my twenties — so I’ll keep reading.

    Keith, what are your impressions on the series as a whole?

    Jason, what other Hard Case Crime books have you really enjoyed?

  4. Besides the aforementioned Quarry novels, I remember enjoying Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas (pseudonym for Charles Ardai–he wrote a few for HCC under the name I think) which was dark in tone, but no so dark as the follow up Songs of Innocence, in my opinion, which actually made me enjoy Songs a bit less; Money Shot by Christa Faust (beyond the somewhat novel female protagonist, it was just a fun read–I have yet to read the follow up novel Choke Hold, however); and Somebody Owes Me Money, by Donald Westlake (a different side of Westlake than the Parker novels, based on my read of The Hunter, at any rate). And with HCC, even if the book doesn’t quite do it for you, the cover art is always fantastic, so at the very least you’ve got that going for you…

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