This week on a podcast only episode Mairi interviews Jack Lutz, author of London in Black, a near-future novel about crime and society in London after a biochemical attack. They talk crime fiction, London, names and flawed detectives.
Mead's central charctor, John Spector, is the magician who helps the police unravel, this fiendishly difficult murder. As a conjuror he is perfectly placed to understand the art of illusion and distraction, and fits wonderfully well into the narrative. However, we learn little about who Spector is, and how he has come to be assisting the police, leading his presence to be essentailly the third mystery of the book.
When we hear the word farm we normally think of a beucolic idyl, of hard but satisfying work on the land. Not so for anyone who had the misfortune to be sucked into the orbit of the Pickton farm, and crimes so truely haneous that it strengthens my argument that some true crime could really …
Creature X is ultimately trying to entertain, rather than change the world, an egoistic conceit to begin with, and sometimes, as long as it is done mindfully, and conciously of impact of steriotypes entertainment for it's own sake is enough. And perhapse, while writing a hunt for a mythological creature, Dupuis has managed a few blows in getting rid of other dinosaurs altogether.
This is the strength of the book, the deeply personal decades long reflection of the victims family. However, this is not a piece of investigative journalism. So those who are expecting the rigour of someone with the caliber Gregg Olsen will be dissapointed. Cosgrove is aware of this, and admits that in his journalistic career he gravitated towards upbeat fluff pieces, and there are points where this shows.
It is the slow building of a sense of place, time and people over a series of novels that allows one the same sense of emotional investment as one would have to Ellis Peters, or Lyndsey Davis. For historical crime fans this is going to be the new must-read series.
Ivy, is very much a woman of her time, and as culture is currently obsessed with rewriting every historical woman as a "badass," there is something refreshing in finding a woman who operates to actively find the answers she needs within her times restrictions rather than creating a fabulist narrative of the ease of societal change.
Ulstein is to be congratulated for a pacey and twisty police procedural, which could have easily been a paint-by-numbers scandi-noir missing girl story. Instead we dance back and forward between the present day search of Iben Lind, and people and places from twenty years before a town away.
The narrative is deceptively simple, in many ways because to really see the story you have to consider it from so many points of view, consider that what was decidedly make believe to one character was decidedly real to the world in which another lives. That in many ways we are mainly people who just happen to intersect with each other for a short time. It is impossible to truly know how other people really see the world or ourselves. It is so often time that is the only thing that gives us real perspective.
This kind of elitism and snobbishness has always existed in the arts. However what the many who tightly cling to this sense of superiority do not realise is that it is only very recently that realism has crept into literature - think about Homer, Beowulf, Shakespeare with his Wyrd Sisters, Titania and Oberon. Human beings have always enjoyed a good dose of the mysterious, miraculous, mythological and the unexplainable in our stories.