Friday, November 09, 2007

This is the end?

CD in Play: The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet

I finished Exit Music today, what is presumed to be the final novel in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series. I started reading the Rebus series, seventeen books in all, (plus a few short stories)around this time last year. The series is often part of a genre referred to as "Tartan Noir" (click for the Wikipedia entry) and has left a bit of an imprint on my reading habits. I find myself wanting to read more - but there is no more to be had.
I am also at a loss as to whom the good and worthwhile contemporary crime writers are. Admittedly, I avoided the genre because of all the crap out there for sale - lurid and sensationalist and hardly worthy of the term literature. Rankin's Rebus series is good literature and it gets better as you go along. The worst book in the series, in my opinion, is Tooth and Nail. The book was targeting a film or a series deal and feels like it. Still readable, but the series improves drastically with Strip Jack and then again with The Black Book. Mortal Causes, Let It Bleed, Black and Blue (yes, Rankin loves his Rolling Stones) and The Hanging Garden are my favourite in the series with Exit Music joining their ranks.
Currently I am about to re-read Virtual Light by William Gibson. It was published in 1992 or 1993 and is set in 2005. I bought the book in November 1997. I may finally check out some classic crime writers like Dashiell Hammett (The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon) and Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep and other Philip Marlowe novels) but we shall see. I am also curious about Walter Mosley's work, which includes Devil in a Blue Dress - which became a film of the same name that I quite liked and that you may have seen.


Blogger Thoth Harris said...

I haven't read Iain Rankin. There are good crime writers, but yeah, you are right, it is a genre, that, on the whole is best avoided, because it is largely composed of dreck. Perhaps the reason for that is because of the small number of writers who would emerge as pure geniuses in any genre. That gives the genre prestige. And the prestige draws the flies to the, well, you know... The herd instinct is never far behind, as you know.

I really like Patricia Highsmith. Really, really disturbing. But briliant and insightful, and many things besides. I can't think of any others at the moment, but there are a few. Still, Highsmith stands far far above the rest, either as a short story writer, or as a novelist.

10 November, 2007 16:00  
Blogger Magnus said...

I was looking over the crime books in Chapters while waiting for a friend. Two Scandinavian writers in the genre jumped out at me. No idea what they are like, but I may check them out: Arnaldur Indriðason and Håkan Nesser. I was thinking that it might be an idea to get a more international flavour for the genre.

10 November, 2007 19:18  

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