Book review: Two mysteries

. . . . . . . Recently, Catxman finished reading two novels, mysteries written by Robert Crais and Reed Coleman. The Coleman book was The Devil Wins. The Crais one was Indigo Slam. I preferred the Crais book by a substantial margin, but was still mildly impressed by the Coleman version of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series.

. . . . . . . Writing a successful novel is one of the most difficult tricks to pull off in the pantheon of human activities and tasks. It takes insight into human beings, pacing, a sense of adventure and a joy of life. Bitter men do not make good novelists. You have to have at least a little sympathy for the characters you create, even the losers and people you think of as your enemies in real life.

“A movie will do in one second, with one image, what it will take a novelist at least a page to describe.” — Yann Martel

. . . . . . . Robert Crais’s novel is the most unrealistic. Nobody’s that good morally. Elvis Cole, hero of Slam, takes on a motherfucking shitload of work and pays out of his own pocket just to help a rando bunch of 3 kids and their loser absentee father. The father is a completely unlikable character — weak and subject to fleeing habits. The middle child, Charles, is a brat who needs a good beating around the neck and ear. Teri, the 15-year-old, should be fucked by Elvis Cole. She sounds like a tasty bit of morsel.

. . . . . . . Theresa (Teri) ends up falling for Elvis Cole. Some psychobabble excuse is given for it. But I think the excuse is simpler. I’ve seen a picture of Robert Crais (the author) and he’s not a bad-looking man. He’s projected his personal self-image onto his hero Elvis. Look at the name chosen right there. The most popular singer ever to take the stage, projected onto a private detective.

. . . . . . . Segue to Jesse Stone. Whereas Elvis Cole is a P.I., Stone is chief of police of small-town Paradise, Mass., within viewing distance of moderate-sized Boston. Stone dates only women his own age (can’t these guys pull an 18-year-old at least?) and has been holding off on dating because “his heart is still tied” to some older cougar.

. . . . . . . I saw the criminal of the piece early into the story. The book’s title The Devil Wins is a diversion on the truth, because Stone ends up catching all the criminals. They either die or they walk the plank to jail. The last criminal he catches is particularly unrealistic, wrapped up because “who else drinks rye alcohol around here?” Right. Right you are cap’n.

. . . . . . . Reed Coleman has a more boring Writer’s Voice than does Robert Crais, and reads as being more anally retentive. Robert Crais comes from a TV background and his humanity shines through. It’s unfortunate that the humanity that shines through is so hackneyed and moralistic. At the end of the book (Slam) he has Elvis Cole walk away from payment for his services. Tell me one professional in real life who doesn’t charge. My mother (Catxman’s mother) went with burning hate in her heart and stupidity limiting her brain to multiple lawyers and they bankrupted her of her share of the house. Those professionals sure weren’t hesitant to charge for their time and professional advice.

. . . . . . . The image that best sums up the novels is: (1) a Pinocchio clock for Indigo Slam; (2) a tall bluff falling down to the Atlantic Ocean. One is a playful, man-made toy; the other is a dramatic, barren segment of nature. That pretty much summarizes the two novels. In this case, just as the pen is mightier than the sword, the toy is mightier than the nature. If you’re going to read one of the two books, I’d pick Indigo Slam. It’s a worthy read and not too thick. Give it a try and tell Catxman if you like it.

Fin {(c) 2022 Scandallyze Corporation}

3 thoughts on “Book review: Two mysteries

    1. If anything, I UNDERestimated the difficulty. Novelwriting is part craft, part formula, all heart … and the formula is the least of it. (For example, we put the exposition of the novel at the beginning of the plot — that’s one approach.)

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