Monday, August 26, 2013

Crime Spree

Summer is a great time to catch up on a number of books you may have missed over the years, and sometimes to discover an author who has been staring you in the face for a very long time.  My reading is (obviously) eclectic but one genre has remained a pretty solid part of my rotation: mysteries / crime fiction.  This year for some weird reason I had not read a lot of crime thus far; that has definitely changed this summer, here are some of the reads I have enjoyed this summer:

Michael Connelly - Previously to this summer, I had read 3 Connelly books; 1 Harry Bosch novel and 2 Lincoln Lawyer books.  All of that changed when I picked up The Fifth Witness while on vacation.  Since then, I grabbed and tore through the following novels: The Drop, The Black Box, The Black Echo, The Reversal, The Black Ice, Blood Work.  So...I went back and read some of the earliest Harry Bosch books in addition to some of the first ones.  The breakdown: Connelly is a good writer, in some books a very, very good writer.  The best ones I read: Blood Work, The Drop and The Black Echo.  All the books were enjoyable and well done overall.  Connelly has a new convert and I am looking forward to making my way through his catalogue.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham / The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston - Two true crime books that for some reason I find inextricably linked and that somehow I missed before.  I know why I skipped the Grisham novel as it came out right after I read Sebastian Junger's brilliant A Death in Belmont.  The two seemed too similar so I avoided the Grisham book and should not have, as he tells a truly outrageous story of corruption and horrible miscarriages of justice.  The Monster of Florence tells a rather bizarre story of a serial killer who operated in the scenic hills around the famous city.  Another tale of bad investigating and terrible miscarriages of justice, this one is interesting because of the author inserting himself into the story.  Still it is worth a read.  Both books were interesting and well written.

Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy - I have read about Bulger before, but this is the first account that covers his entire life and criminal career.  He is a fascinating character who has never really had a full measure taken of his life, and it is a testament to the authors (who followed his career for more than 30 years) that he becomes a three dimensional person and not simply a cartoonish bad guy.  The book is well written and a deep dive into an incredible story.  Given the plethora of books on the topic (for an overall look at Irish criminal history check out TJ English's excellent Paddy Whacked )  it is important to make sure you reach for a good one, and this is definitely one of those.

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