Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day Four - The Road to Recovery

Mr. Hyde has withdrawn somewhat and I'm wobbling about today. I may even manage to take the dogs for a walk. I'm dissecting the plot of a book I'm working on. Taking out characters, blending them and changing the interaction between two of them... it's like re-knitting a cable sweater, but it has to be done.

On Book Two of a Reed Farrel Coleman series that Val recommended, Redemption Street. It's the second in the Moe Prager series. The first was Walking the Perfect Square which I read yesterday.

The books seem terribly dated, so I was surprised to see that the publish date for the first was 2002. I'm not sure whether they were reissued (I did look around the web trying to find out) or if Mr. Coleman is an expert at writing decades gone by. Even the 'witty' dialogue is dated. So much so that it was like listening to my older relatives trying to be funny. The flavor and feel is so consistent that I found I didn't mind too much. It does look like the series comes into this century eventually, as Innocent Monster is a post 911 mystery.


  1. Oh, cool, you're giving the series a try! And the books have a really dated feel? In hindsight, I think I see what you mean. I think they were reissued. He published the first couple with a big publisher like St. Martin Minotaur. Then they went out of print, and he was contacted by a smaller Houston press (with a weird name I can't remember) and talked into republishing. Then he wrote about two or three more, publishing through the Houston press.

    I read them as Kindle docs. I think he has an intro where he explains that Redemption Street was the project of his heart, and yet nobody else liked it, ha, ha! Everyone liked the James Deans one instead.

    I jumped into the middle of the series with Soul Patch about three years ago, and then worked forward and back. These books have can have a dark and depressing feel if you read them back to back (as I did with the last three).

    I kind of like all the Jewish Brooklyn multicultural stuff, and I especially like how he dabbles in the missing persons work on the side while being stuck managing the wine shops. And his emotional attachment for that NYPD detective shield he never got, poor devil!

  2. I wish I could find more information. The chronology is interesting. The Perfect Square takes place twenty years after the fact, so you'd think it was written around 1998. I wonder if he wrote it before or after Redemption Street. Everything sounds like 1978, though. Camp survivors and no cell phones, to name the most obvious. And the (shock! shock!) surprise solution to The Perfect Square which would be very very obvious to any reader these days.

    I'm not a New York native but the anti-Jewish stuff seems a bit dated, too.

    I'm going to read them in order and see if his jokes and descriptions follow a time line. His description of the Catskills in this current book is funny. I didn't get that feeling at all when I was there, but maybe I was oblivious.

  3. The anti-Jewish stuff? You mean the NYPD detectives insulting each other's ethnicities? You could be right that that sort of behavior went out with the 1970s. We can only hope!

    I can't even remember the solution to The Perfect Square! Can you believe that? I only read the book back in November. Some reviewer I am!

    I've never been to the Catskills. I had to take his word for it. :)

    It does seem weird not to have cell phones / internet in some mystery series like Sue Grafton's. Especially cell phones. How did we ever get along without them?

  4. Theres a lot of time given to Jewish self-hatred and prejudice in The Road to Redemption. Cops teasing each other about their ethnicities seems pretty standard even today, but the prejudice of Katy's father, for instance, seems so very dated.

    The 'secret' in The Perfect Square was that the son was gay and in hiding because his father was a bigot. It was obvious from page one and then I KNEW that the gay bartender was his boyfriend as soon as he walked on screen. All kind of hackneyed and over the top along with a little lecture from a psychologist on the subject. If I'd read it in the 80's it wouldn't have seemed out of touch but it does now.

    Funny thing about 'hard boiled' pulp fiction is that it is almost always caught in the bubble of time in which it was written. Which isn't entirely a bad thing.

  5. Did you manage to take the dogs on a walk???

  6. I took the dogs out, took a shower (thank GOD my hair was GROSS) and went to the accupuncturist, who stuck pins in the back of my head and made me feel much better. I think one more day of rest and I should be good to go.

  7. VERY good news. Don't overdo it when you go back, though...