Sat, 16 August 2008
THE TURNAROUND, George Pelecanos's fifteenth novel, is the work of a mature writer at the top of his game. It is a thoughtful examination of one event that permanently alters the lives of six young men—three black, three white. The story is both as straightforward and as complex as the characters it involves, and pulls the reader in through their palpable suffering. By creating such intimacy with this ensemble cast, Pelecanos is able to explore some of the most pressing issues facing America today—race, class, and the foreign war that districts us from these domestic battles—with depth and nuance, and without any trace of artificiality or authorial tampering. A less experienced or less gifted writer would have been tempted, in handling such material, to deliver a message, and so would have ruined a story that is infinitely more rich because it stays focused on the people it involves. Pelecanos reveals how his youthful aspirations to be a filmmaker, his experience writing for HBO's THE WIRE, and his work on the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn books all prepared him to write this understated masterpiece that is THE TURNAROUND. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed at http://btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_08_15_GP.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT
Fri, 1 August 2008
That Coggins is a disciple of Chandler and Hammett is abundantly clear in his most recent August Riordan novel, RUNOFF. Riordan is in many ways analogous to Chandler's iconic Philip Marlowe. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man, or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. Coggins turns his man loose in one of the most hard-boiled of towns—San Francisco. The setting is no mistake. It's Coggins's home, and thus a place he can write of with authority. It was also Hammett's city, and Sam Spade's. Most importantly, it's a place that lends itself perfectly to a plot that is at once classic-hardboiled and thoroughly modern, a tale of real estate moguls and political hopefuls in collusion to rig elections and reap the profits. In other words, Coggins has the literary savvy to revisit Chandler and Hammett in order to develop character, place, and plot in a timeless fashion, but also has the storytelling smarts to realize the limitations of a simple nostalgia piece. RUNOFF structures an elegant bridge between the war years and today, somehow soaring above the murky pitfalls such a blend of eras should create. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at http://btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_08_01_MC.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:14am EDT