Mystery and Crime Reads to End February

I continue to be on a bit of a tear this year with my reading. I’ve found reading novels to be the balm for my social-media-tortured soul. For so long, I’ve been refreshing the same dumb websites, looking for something, but it turns out, whatever it was I was looking for, I find it in the most old-fashioned of pages. Go figure.

I put a call out on my Facebook for cozy novels, which mostly got me mystery novel recommendations. As can be the case, people’s definitions of “cozy” varied wildly and ultimately it kind of felt like a list of general recommendations. About the only thing that got a secondary recommendation was the Armand Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny. So I picked up Still Life, the first in the series.

I actually started out reading mysteries before moving to SF/F in elementary school, so it’s a genre I do enjoy. This was no exception. The POV floats around like a ghost, though, which is really weird for me having been stuck in such limited perspectives in SF/F for years. Head-hopping ln the same scene, which I’d always been told to never do back when I was writing, but I liked it here. There were times where I felt like my POV was the ghost of the victim, in fact. Coziness factor would be about a 6.5 out of 10. There’s a lot of Canadian political tension I didn’t expect, and a few really unlikable characters. I’m probably going to buy the second one and continue though, as I absolutely adored Armand Gamache himself. What an idea – a kind-hearted detective. I’m so used to the brilliant but cold types.

Tonight, I finished a noir/crime book called Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze. I picked this up on the recommendation of Nick Mamatas, who has never steered me wrong on a book. Published originally in 1953 (a fact I had missed in the original recommendation, so I had found it very oddly quaint when first reading it, thinking it was a contemporary novel), and for me, it’s an instant classic. I had never heard of Chaze before, but this work felt easily on par, in prose and style, with what little I’ve read of Chandler and the like. I came to read it like a Greek tragedy. There’s always this inevitable downfall in pulp crime novels, and this one lets you know from early on that it is no exception. After spending so much time reading longer novels, it was nice to pick up one that I could finish in a couple of days.

That’s enough for now. I’m having so much pain in my shoulders that typing is getting kind of hard. Been sleeping hard lately, I guess, and waking up very sore. Blogging for the rest of the week is likely to be shorter than this, at least until I can wake up without feeling like someone spent the night beating me about the head and shoulders with a bat.

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