TORN APART Peter Corris Allen & Unwin - NZ$35
HARDBALL Sara Paretsky Hodder - NZ$38.99
I read and enjoyed both of these crime fiction novels during this past week.
Things they have in common:
Protagonists in both books are well-established private investgators.Both investigators tend to be a bit smart-arse, both have been married but are currently single, and both suffer from being rathet nastily beaten in the course of their current cases. Both are enormously likeable.
Both written by leading writers in the genre, veterans in their field, at the top of their game.
Sara Paretsky is the author of fourteen books, including twelve V I Warshawski novels. She is the winner of many awards, including the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers` Association and the CWA Gold Dagger for Blacklist.
Peter Corris has an incredible 32 titles featuring Cliff Hardy to his credit, he is justifiably known as the godfather of Australian crime fiction, has won many awards most recently the Ned Kelly Crime Fiction Award 2009. He has won this award on seven previous occasions.
Both titles were hard to put down and resulted in much burning of the midnight oil.
Differences between the two titles:
Torn Apart runs to 212 pages while Hardball is a whopping 446 pages.
Torn Apart is set in contemporary Sydney while Hardball is set in contemporary Chicago but with many flash backs to Chicago in the 60's and the race riots of that time.
Hardball is a much more complex tale with more characters, time changes and as a result requires more concentration.
When V.I. Warshawski is asked to find a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she thought would be futile turns lethal. Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history rise up to force her back with a vengeance – a nun who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. dies without revealing crucial evidence, and on the city's South Side, people spit when she shows up. The elderly sisters who hired her are also keeping important information to themselves.
Then V.I. finds that her family is keeping secrets of their own. A young cousin whom she's never met arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign, but disappears under mysterious circumstances. Afraid to learn that her adored father might have been a bent cop, deception and corruption following her at every step, V.I. finds all her certainties under threat, but takes the investigation all the way to its frightening end.
The Bookman must confess he is a little in love with Vic Warshawski! Just as well she lives in Chicago and I'm away down here in the South Pacific.
Hardy has never been much of a family man, so when he meets his second cousin Patrick Malloy it's like being hit with a left hook to the solar plexus - Malloy is his double. Cliff and his cousin become friends and travel to attend a gathering of the Irish Travell - the gypsy-like folk from whom they are descended. On their return, Malloy is brutally murdered - but was the shotgun blast intended for him or for Hardy? Hardy is de-licensed, semi-retired ... but this investigation is personal.
Of course Cliff Hardy has lost his private investigator's licence, he's had major heart surgery and he is meant to be retired but none of that is going to stop him establishing who killed his cousin.
Peter Corris fans please note - I have just been advised this is a January 2010 publication so you'll have to wait until then. Apologies for any undue excitement caused, I had a proof copy of the book to read and review.
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