Well, friends, I've been in reading heaven most of the week, begrudging the time that family, friends and just plain living take. Have I found a marvelous book, you wonder. Not exactly. Just got my hands new books by some of my favorite authors.
First up was Plague Ship by Clive Cussler with Jack DuBrul. Plot is intricate, perhaps too much so, but, boy, what a read! It's just plain fun: you don't read the book, you enter into the Cusslerian world. The writing just carries you along whether or not you find Juan Cabrillo and crew plausible.
James Lee Burke's latest, Swan Peak, although not quite in the same league as some of his earlier works, such as A Stained White Radiance and In the Mists with the Confederate Dead, is a pleasant and riveting visit with old friends Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell. No question here as to plausibility. Reformed and practicing alcoholics, Vietnam vets, ex-New Orleans cops, just people living in the marrow of life, the characters are real people to aficionados. In fact, Clete who's been something of a two dimensional character gets a bit more development in this one. The writing here just keeps you reading. Reminds me of the Penn Warren's "And then" sort of thing.
Finally, I was really excited to discover a new writer, Michael Harvey. Actually, he's co-creator of Cold Case Files, so he's not exactly a new writer, but The Chicago Way is his debut novel. His PI, Michael Kelly, would feel right at home with some of the grittiest detectives in the noir tradition, as well as Lahane's Kenzie. His is a bleak Chicago where corruption and violence permeate the chilly fabric of the city. And don't miss the plot twist. I was suspicious when I saw the praise from Grisham, Connelly, and Reichs on the cover. This is one instance in which it is deserved. I'll be reading Harvey from now on.