Tag: mystery

The Trespasser by Tana French

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I’m a huge fan of mysteries, crime fiction, detective fiction and all encompassing subgenres. Currently, my favorite crime fiction writer is Tana French. I’m a huge fan of her novels, last year I read all five of them back to back. Last week, her sixth novel, The Trespasser, came out. I picked it up and devoured it as fast as possible.

The Trespasser is about Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner Steven Moran. The newest and least popular members of Dublin Murder Squad who are usually stuck investigating routine domestic crimes considered less glamourous by senior members of the squad.

Their latest case looks like the usual domestic lover’s murder. Aisling Murray, a 20 something attractive young woman is found dead, her head smashed against the fireplace, her apartment prepared for what appears to be a dinner date. Yet, several peculiarities and loose ends give our detectives room for doubt and cause to investigate deeper. The investigation reveals numerous secrets and unexpected turns, some dangerous for the main characters.

Tana French’s novels, like all great detective stories, are more than a mystery or a police procedural. The main focus is on character and theme. The main character, Antoinette Conway is your typical bad girl cop who doesn’t need anyone or anything. The older squadmates hate her and downright harass and haze. But she isn’t portrayed in the cliche tough girl with a heart of gold that ends up loved by everybody. French shows the alienation and loneliness of being the loner and the badass. She shows how being the know it all tough guy/girl is a fault and pushing everyone away is detrimental.

So, the sixth book in the series was great. Now I eagerly wait for the next one and try to search for more crime fiction with the same depth and character.

 

 

Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan

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Fighting off a massive hangover  I couldn’t think of a more appropriate activity than to spend a wet rainy weekend in Yokosuka reading a dark and violent cyberpunk novel. Altered Carbon has been on my to read pile for a very long time and after finishing it I am thankful for all the recommendations. Its a violent piece of cyberpunk that can hold its own with the likes of Neuromancer.

Takeshi Kovaks, a Envoy(special forces agent) turned criminal is taken out of storage and downloaded into a temporary sleeve(body) right smack in the middle of 25th century San Francisco. His probation and release hinge on completing a private murder investigation on the apparent suicide of his employer, a centuries old corporate billionaire. Kovaks navigates a bloody path through a dirty Bay City, dealing with prostitutes, drug addicts, corrupt police, psychotic assassins, cyborgs, and an A.I. Hotel in the likeness of Jimmy Hendrix.

The main science fiction element of Altered Carbon is the idea of sleeves and stacks. In the 25th century ones consciousness is digitized and stored in stacks mounted to the cerebral cortex. Human flesh bodies are now called sleeves because one can be uploaded into any empty available one. The novel hits some fantastic points about identity, human connection, and self-perception in a world where one can switch bodies. It also touches on the concept of near immortal longevity for those who can afford it.

Altered Carbon managed to touch all of my favorite elements. Dark, brutal, action taking place in a fantastic setting dealing with themes that touch on the philosophical. A fantastic read for anybody who loves cyberpunk and detective noir. I’m going to read more Richard K Morgan for sure.

 

Murder, Mystery, and Crime

I am not and have never been a strict genre only reader. I read everything. I believe a modern man must be well read in everything from the fluffiest pulp to classics and history. I have a personal rule that I read several fiction books and then I enjoy a denser no fiction.

Yet genre novels are still my go to and one of my favorite genres to read is the mystery thriller. I haven’t really mentioned it too much on here but looking over my goodreads reading for 2015 police murder mysteries made up my majority. The darker and bloodier the better.

Currently my favorite author in the genre is Tana French. This year I binged through all five of her books. Amazing stuff and probably my favorite reading experience in awhile. She writes complex, character focused, introspective crime novels centered around Dublins murder squad. They not only focus on the mystery but on the characters personal internal struggles  often making them unreliable narrators.

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After reading Tana French on my recommendation my friend suggested I give Jo Nesbo’s series featuring Norwegian detective Harry Hole. I’m halfway into the second book and I have a feeling I will binge all ten by the end of the year. Jo Nesbo’s Hole novels fit into the Scandinavian Noir scene. Scandinavian Noir or Nordic Noir is a genre of crime fiction written in Scandinavia with certain common characteristics, typically in a realistic style with a dark, morally complex mood. Other examples would be The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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They are dark, bloody, and the main character is a pitiful self destructive alcoholic but when he gets his act together he is a brilliant detective. If you like dark crime fiction give these a read and come back to discuss it with me.