Sunday, June 18, 2017
I'm not a big fan of thriller novels, but there are a bunch of terrific stories in this book. The gimmick is that each story features two members of the International Thriller Writers, one male and one female, bringing their most popular characters together. In this case it is Karin Slaughter and Michael Koryta (making his second appearance in this space) and they decided to dive into their protagonists' backstories.
It's 1993 and Jeffrey Tolliver, is a young Birmingham cop. He is in a small town in Georgia on a long weekend that has gone terribly wrong.
How wrong? Before the tale has gotten fairly started he finds himself standing in a hotel parking lot in front of a busload of missionaries and...
"Holy crap,mister. You're in your underwear."
"Running shorts," he said, resisting the urge to cover himself. "Training for a marathon."
"With just one shoe?"
That has a nice Groucho Marx surrealism to it, doesn't it? And pretty soon Tolliver is in jail on suspicion of murder.
Meanwhile, up in Cleveland, Ohio, veteran cop Joe Pritchard and his green partner Lincoln Perry are being asked by the DEA to help them track down a local drug dealer who has gone national. Seems he has been spotted in a small town in Georgia...
A lot of stuff goes on here - in spite of its title, this is the longest novella in the book -- and there are some nice surprises along the way.and more witty lines too, as when a bad guy says:
"This ain't no Batman movie, mister. I don't got to explain myself."
Sunday, June 30, 2013
The Private Eye Writers of America named the Shamus nominees today and one of them is the story I chose last week: "The Sequel," by Jeffrey Deaver. Excellent choice, but I am still feeling justified in listing Deaver's story and this one as 2013 because 1) I didn't read them until this year, and 2) the issue date covers through February of this year. So there.
What Koryta has given us is a lovely little character study about Thor, who has been the hit man for two decades for Belov, who is the head of organized crime in Cleveland. These two have been through tough times on two continents and, in a business that doesn't support long-lasting relationships, they seem inseparable.
Thor had seen his father killed at age six, and that was not the first corpse he had viewed.
The English word for the way Thor felt about killing was "desensitized," but he did not know that it was a proper fit. Maybe he was overly sensitized. Maybe he understood it more than most. Maybe the poeple who had not killed or could not imagine being killed were the desensitized breed.
What could come between Thor and his boss? Could there, to his own amazement, be a line he could not cross?
Yup, and a very unexpected one it turns out to be.